Posts

Showing posts from April, 2024

Takacs Quartet returns in EMS series, this time with focus on the bandoneon

Image
Takacs Quartet (from left): Andras Fejer, Harumi Rhodes, Richard O'Neill, Edward Dusinberre Separated by an eventful decade, the two appearances here by the Takacs Quartet in the Ensemble Music Societ  series reflect the age's tumult. In 2014, the ensemble's own Hungarian legacy was front and center in the presentation of three quartets by Bela Bartok . On Wednesday evening at Indiana History Center. the group, which now has just one original member, reflected its recent partnership with Julien Labro , a bandoneon virtuoso of distinction. The program showed off the Takacs' outreach as collaborators.  Julien Labro, bandoneonist Not only that, the opening and closing works on the concert grew out of their composers' explicit responses to the pandemic: Bryce Dessner's "Circles" had the churning anxiety about connections suggested by its title; Clarice Assad's "Clash" brought to the fore the harsher realities of a world of lost connections

Sacred text, humanistic messsage: Carmel Symphony Orchestra and singers present Verdi

Image
The Palladium is a worthy site for a wealth of music, and Saturday night it seemed the ideal place for the David Commanday, maestro likely to advance CSO. Carmel Symphony Orchestra, a mass choir and four vocal soloists to present the highly charged religious drama of Giuseppe Verdi's "Requiem." With its lavish updating of Palladian architecture, the retrospective splendor of this pride of the Center for the Performing Arts accommodated every musical and visionary twist and turn of the masterpiece under the baton of the CSO's recently appointed music director, David Commanday.  In the initial outburst of "Dies Irae" (Day of Wrath), the lighting on the rear stage wall turned red. The effect made a repeat appearance when that music returned in the last movement, "Libera me." The subsiding to blue for many of the moments of appeal was wholly in order, enhancing the emotional weight of the score, and the lighting effects fortunately weren't over

Rhythm as a melodic construct: Ari Hoenig Trio plays the Jazz Kitchen

Image
 Drummers as leaders of small groups tend to provoke questions of nearly psychoanalytical daring. How is Ari Hoenig casts a broad vision.  their traditional job of support for bandmates changed by imposing their musical signature as the boss? Are they showoffs or servant-leaders? Are they keeping something hidden, even repressed, in order to bring out aspects of their musicianship that they find more important when they're in charge? On Friday evening, I was glad to catch up with the influential drummer Ari Hoenig at the Jazz Kitchen after knowing his work only through 20-year-old trio CDs by the French pianist Jean-Michel Pilc.    On the basis of these two recordings, I was impressed by how well he keeps up with the quirky pianist (in partnership with bassist Francois Moutin) and became convinced his playing is more than ordinarily responsive to what collegial tune and harmony specialists (bass and piano) are up to. He finds the thread of melody within primarily rhythmic functi

Working Class Socialite brings back expanded festival hit, "The Ship of Dreams"

Image
Fringe vs. history: Juxtaposed farewell waves from Titanic My fading memories of the megahit "Titanic" focus mainly on two things: the front-to-back embrace of lovers played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet and the horrific wonder of passengers viewed at a distance sliding down the steeply tilted deck into the icy Atlantic waters. I don't know why the romantic story and the theme of class conflict disappeared in my mind, but it was recalled for me with zestful mockery in "The Ship of Dreams" Thursday at IndyFringe's Indy Eleven intimate stage. The vigorous one-act send-up of James Cameron's  1997 film builds upon the young theater company Working Class Socialite 's Fringe Festival production from 2022. The show will run through April 21. The production's style privileges even faulty recall. But it will most likely appeal to playgoers just sentimental and knowledgeable enough about the movie to appreciate revisiting it with a jaundiced eye.

Freddie Hubbard Tribute: A memorable display of a trumpeter's titanic legacy

Image
The front line was exceptional in Sunday's Hubbard tribute.  Three trumpeters in the front line — contemporary masters as they are — might have promised an excess of blasting. Fortunately, in Sunday's second set at the Jazz Kitchen, Pharez Whitted, Derrick Gardner, and John Raymond saved the onslaught for the climactic choruses of "Byrdlike," Freddie Hubbard's tribute to a slightly older trumpet master, Donald Byrd. The spectacle closed out the Kitchen's 30th-anniversary week. It was a tribute to Hubbard, deceased but musically immortal Indianapolis icon on his 86th birthday. It was easy to be grateful for signs of restraint in the performance, which more than adequately captured the quality that establishment trumpeter Wynton Marsalis noted as most characteristic upon Hubbard's passing in 2008: exuberance. The brassmen lined up for this tribute fortunately had innate good taste to add to the exuberance. In one of Whitted's solos, for instance, he star

ISO assistant conductor, guest soloist show glow of Russian full noon and twilight

Image
Not many people agree with modernist icon Pierre Boulez's assessment of Tchaikovsky's music: "an abomination," he called it. Decades ago, I was astonished to see the Russian master not included in Donald J. Grout's category of major composers in an early edition of "A History of Western Music," which enjoyed high status as a textbook in the late 20th century. I can easily get my fill of Tchaikovsky, but I'm not among the debunkers. I think his Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor stands tall among masterpieces, and it deserves its admired place in public esteem. Surely any history of music should take popularity into account when it comes to assessing a composer's status. Van Cliburn's recording in 1958 cemented the Texan's position as the worthy winner of the Tchaikovsky Su-Han Yang is the ISO's assistant conductor. Competition in Moscow at the height of the Cold War. It went platinum, meaning more than 1 million copies were sold

Silver medalist from 1998 returns in IVCI's Laureate Series

Image
A salute to Ferruccio Busoni on his death centenary rubbed shoulders with Beethoven's last violin-piano sonata Tuesday night when Liviu Prunaru came back to the scene of his 1998 silver-medal triumph in the International  Violin Competition of Indianapolis . Secure musical partnership: Liviu Prunaru and Chih-Yi Chen The Romanian violinist, who has crowned his career of solo engagements around the world with the concertmastership of the Concertgebouw Orchestra , offered major works by those trailblazing figures in the IVCI's Laureate Series, with Chih-Yi Chen at the piano, at the Indiana History Center. The program was filled out by two lighter pieces, Saint-Saens' "Havanaise," the most popular artistic representation of the habanera dance form outside the one the title character sings in Bizet's "Carmen," and Antonio Bazzini's virtuosic showpiece "Calabrese." (That might have to take second place in pizazz to his "Dance of the G