MONTPELIER — The music of Claude Debussy (1862-1918) is difficult to analyze. It’s much more rewarding to stop thinking and just let the beautifully sensual and colorful music take over the senses — and enjoy.
That was easy to do Sunday afternoon with the excellent performances presented by Capital City Concerts in its all-Debussy program at the Unitarian Church. Most rewarding were Debussy’s three sonatas, among his final works and three-fifths of his total chamber music output, for various instruments.
Most intriguing was the ethereal and quietly dramatic Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp, certainly an unusual combination. The sensuality of this Impressionist music, in which the three instruments play not only lyrically, but weave in and out of each other’s parts atmospherically, is rich and exotic.
Flutist Karen Kevra, artistic director of the series, violist Arturo Delmoni and harpist Rebecca Kauffman delivered all those qualities with flair. Kevra’s actively expressive tone, Delmoni’s beautiful passion, and Kauffman’s sensual expressiveness all contributed to this ethereal Debussy experience.
Much more traditionally dramatic was the Sonata for Cello and Piano, reverting somewhat to the Romantic era. Cellist John Dunlop played with expressiveness and passion as well as sensitivity, matched all the way by pianist Paul Orgel’s overt virtuosity, achieving the work’s grandeur. The two Burlington-area musicians often play together, and it showed in their sure sense of ensemble.
Delmoni switched to violin for the Violin and Piano Sonata. He plied his rich sound expressively, with great nuance, in this more quirky work that includes Gypsy flavors. Orgel, though a bit more reserved here, complemented Delmoni beautifully for a truly satisfying performance.
Three other works rounded out the program. Kevra employed her expressiveness in the well-known “Syrinx” for solo flute. Kauffman delivered real virtuosity as well as expressiveness, joined by Orgel, in the Romantic-feeling “Sacred and Profane Dances.” Orgel offered a kaleidoscope of colors and a sensitive touch in his truly compelling performance of the solo Etude No. 8, “Pour les agréments (For the Ornaments).”
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