Features |Music Review: Chamber music season has begunBy Jim Lowe
Staff Writer | June 29,2012
MONTPELIER — Vermont’s intense summer chamber music season began in earnest Wednesday with the fine opening faculty concert of the Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival at the University of Vermont Recital Hall.
The major work, one of three masterpieces, was Brahms’ Clarinet Quintet in b minor, Opus 115. Clarinetist Daniel McKelway, a member of the Cleveland Orchestra since 1995, led the performance with a comfortable virtuosity.
Although his performance lacked some expressiveness, McKelway’s playing was sensitive to both Brahms and the other players.
McKelway was joined by a fine quartet of strings that played with an appropriate lushness and a sensitivity that matched the clarinetist’s. Violinist Kevin Lawrence, the festival’s artistic director, led the ensemble with a warm lyricism. He was joined by violinist Stephanie Ezerman, violist Lembi Veskimets and cellist Alexander Ezerman.
The festival is a four-week rigorous summer classical music training school for young string students, high school age through graduate school, to learn chamber music. The faculty is comprised mostly of conservatory teachers who are also topnotch players – as is proven by these fine faculty concerts.
The concert opened with a less-known work, but a masterpiece nonetheless. Swiss baritone Valentin Lanzrein, accompanied by another quartet of strings, delivered the rich and varied emotions of American composer Samuel Barber’s “Dover Beach,” Opus 3. Although his English diction proved a little muddy, the young singer sang with warmth and expressiveness, and an attractively mellow voice.
The program’s spice came from Three Tangos by Astor Piazzola. Pianist Dmitri Shteinberg, violinist Lynn Chang and cellist Steven Prologe, although they didn’t quite ace the exotic tango rhythms, played with passion and color. And the lyrical passages were particularly beautiful.
The Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival offers particularly fine concerts. The student recitals are well worth a try as well.
Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival
The Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival presents Faculty Artist Concerts at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays, June 29, July 6, 13 and 20, and Wednesday, July 4, at the University of Vermont Recital Hall, Redstone Campus in Burlington. Tickets are $25, students free. Free student performances are presented at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays through July 20. For information or tickets, go online to www.gmcmf.org.MORE IN FEATURES17
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