Saturday, March 24, 2012

CAPE benefits Newark

Living in Newark has considerable perks. One day I can listen to collaborative pianist Roger Vignoles on CDs owned by the Newark Free Library and the next day I can hear him live at Gore Recital Hall thanks to the sponsorship of the University Faculty Senate Committee on Cultural and Public Events (CAPE).

Roger Vignoles is one of the greatest living collaborative pianists of our time and he certainly proved it in his accompaniment of UD faculty member Robert Brandt in the Winterreise by Franz Schubert.

This rather underadvertised concert had a small audience -- the most vocal of whom seemed to be baritone Dr. Robert Brandt’s students. But those who missed this evening missed hearing a perfectionist. Mr. Vignoles’ technical skills are so solid that he is able to concentrate on the finer points of absolute dynamic control – final chords which he dared to make so soft that the notes risked not speaking – yet they did. His remarkable concentration made incredible changes of mood and tone within the rich variations of the music Schubert used for the twenty-four cloyingly romantic poems by Wilhelm Müller.

Dr. Brandt is also quite fluent in German which makes for a convincing portrayal of ideas expressed in colloquial fluency. His voice is quite rich and strong and he still seemed fresh and energetic even after singing for over an hour with no break.

When stars like Mr. Vignoles are lured to a tiny town like Newark, it means the music department at the University of Delaware has reached a level of sophistication which can only be attributed to their excellent staff and to the economic power of the University Faculty Senate Committee on Cultural and Public Events.


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