Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Smooth Beginning of the Delaware Chamber Music Festival

Barbara Govatos and Marcantonio Barone
From the first thirty-second note of the Grave in the Beethoven Opus 16, Barbara Govatos, Marcantonio Barone, Che Hung Chen and Priscilla Lee were glued together – making that treacherous journey through the beginning of the quintet with ease and confidence which is rarely managed,  even on recordings.  Mr. Barone even added a short and melodic bridge between the  Grave  and Allegro movements – keeping a Beethoven tradition but making it a fleeting and well-matched bridge to the faster movement.    

The theme of the first evening of the Delaware Chamber Music Festival was Classical Influences.  The Poulenc Sonata for flute and piano, Opus 164 may seem at first to be an incongruous fit for the Mozart and Beethoven, but the extremely soft dynamics of Ms. Guidetti’s flute in the Cantilena movement evoked the quiet of the second movement of Bach’s Italian Concerto.  The Presto giocoso cleared any lingering baroque feeling as the duo gave a brilliant rendition of the modern, dance-like movement.

The Mozart Piano quartet in G minor, K 478 was played with twenty-first century vigor – sometimes letting the modern piano dominate with the sudden fortes.  Yet Mr. Barone made the piano sing the theme of the second half of the first movement and Ms. Lee’s cello lines could be clearly heard as his accompaniment.  The vocal quality of the high notes of Che Hung Chen’s viola – especially in the Rondeau movement, was delightful. 

Pyxis rehearses with Barbara Govatos
The classical beginnings of the Festival will make way for romantic and even blues influences on Sunday, June 16 when the Pyxis Piano Quartet joins the Festival.  The quartet will also play a Delaware premiere by composer Kathryn Mishell, the winner of the 2010 Sylvia Glickman prize of the International Alliance for Women of Music.  On Friday, June 21, Christian Taggart will be a featured guest playing the Paganini Cantabile for violin and guitar, the Sonata concertante for violin and guitar and some Piazzola.  There will also be a fest of romantic trios played by Marcantonio Barone, Clancy Newman and Barbara Govatos.

The Festival will present a fourth and final concert with a Delaware premiere: String Quartet No. 2 by local composer Ingrid Arauco.  The theme Chip off the old Bach and the Bach Duet for violin and viola in C minor,  the Mozart  Adagio and Fugue in C minor and the Mendelssohn String Quintet in B-flat Major hint that Ms. Arauco’s string quartet will also be a classically structured piece. 

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