Showing posts from December, 2020

Jennifer Koh wraps up her examination of solo Bach juxtaposed with modern works

 The "Bach & Beyond" series that the wide-ranging American violinist Jennifer Koh launched in 2012 has Jennifer Koh explores Bach et al. now finished with the third and final album ( Cedille Records ). Not surprisingly, it ends the series with distinction, setting on two discs J.S. Bach's solo sonatas Nos. 2 and 3 beside (respectively) Luciano Berio's "Sequenza VIII" and John Harbison's "For Violin Alone." To get to the Bach performances first: It's amazing how much lyricism she finds in the music. All the contrapuntal implications don't swamp the elucidation she gives to the composer's melodic savvy. Each sonata contains a demanding fugue, and there Koh clearly lays everything out, line by line. Her rhythmically secure playing avoids suggesting that her approach is either too calculated or too swayed by the moment. In the fugue movement of the A minor sonata, I  hope it's not too fanciful to hear in the repeated two- and t

'Wonderful Life' senses the heartbeat of a beloved movie in IRT's streaming holiday production

George Bailey's life is under angelic supervision.  The fast-paced backstage summary of Indiana Repertory Theatre' s new production of "This Wonderful Lfe" introduces virtual audiences both to the material, already familiar to fans of the movie "It's a Wonderful Life," and the play's sole actor here, the protean Rob Johansen . The performance is accessible online through January 3. Johansen, as the expression goes, needs no introduction, particularly to IRT audiences who have seen him in 48 company roles up to now. So all will recognize the actor's characteristic manner of bringing everything in his performances forward in intimate connection with an audience. It bursts forth from the start, as WFYI-TV's cameras follow him from dressing room through corridors and via stairways onto the main stage. All this revs up the nostalgia engine while he is rattling off bits from the script, inviting the viewer to become nearly as breathlessly committed