Sunday, November 20, 2022
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He performs the violin « parterre field

Some {couples} had been pushed aside by being cooped up collectively (incidents of home abuse elevated) whereas some bonded extra carefully collectively.  Classical music couple violinist Joshua Bell and soprano Larisa Martínez used the time collectively whereas barred from performing publicly to discover musical collaboration at house.

The couple (who met in 2011 and married in 2019) began pairing up for house musicales seeking out and performing compositions that pair the soprano voice with the violin.  Their explorations of this repertoire yielded a number of musical discoveries that they shared with the general public at a joint recital offered on the 92nd Avenue Y on October 20.  Collaborative “multimedia” pianist Peter Dugan accompanied each on the keyboard.

Bell is well-established as certainly one of his technology’s preeminent violin virtuosos.  His Puerto-Rican born spouse is much less acquainted to the general public, although she is definitely charming and achieved.  Martínez and Bell alternated vocal items with violin obbligato with soprano and violin solos supported by piano.  Unfamiliar and obscure works alternated with classical and well-liked chestnuts.

The night started with a rarity: a Mendelssohn live performance aria in Italian “Ah, ritorna, età dell’oro” from Infelice (textual content by Metastasio).  The piece has some similarities to Beethoven’s “Ah Perfido!” Cecilia Bartoli has recorded this live performance scena with Maxim Vengerov on her Maria Malibran album and Bell and Martínez have additionally recorded it.

Exquisitely gowned and coiffed, Ms. Martínez provided a soprano that’s is collected and exact with good passage work.  Her voice is high-placed and nimble appropriate for mild coloratura repertoire.  Nonetheless, one senses that the tone is narrowly targeted in such a manner that maximizes placement however minimizes tonal heat.  Head resonance guidelines on the expense of hotter resonance within the masks giving the sound brightness however little depth.

Her timbre might be pallid within the center register and faint within the decrease register.  The pure vibrato and plush timbre of Latin Hispanic singers (for one instance Nadine Sierra) is absent.  Ms. Martínez additionally lacked an outlined trill.  I’m additionally unsure concerning the dimension of her voice, particularly in a big live performance corridor with orchestra,  however her keenly targeted soprano sounded good for the intimate 92nd Avenue Y auditorium.

Mr. Bell’s violin obbligato (composed for Malibran’s frequent regulation husband violinist Charles de Bériot) within the Mendelssohn sounded moderately perfunctory initially however that modified over the course of the night.  Bell was concurrently soulful and a klezmer-inflected virtuoso in Ernest Bloch’s “Nigun” from Baal Shem.

Bell ravished the ears and the soul with a violin transcription of Chopin’s “Nocturne in E-flat Main, Op. 9, No. 2” (arr. Bell/Wallace).

He then proceeded to knock our socks off with Wienawski’s showpiece “Scherzo-Tarantelle, Op. 16” mentioning in his introduction that he hoped he might nonetheless play it as quick as he did when he was a twelve year-old pupil of Josef Gingold, who in flip was a pupil of the legendary Belgian virtuoso Eugène Ysaÿe.  I don’t understand how quick the pre-pubescent Bell performed it nevertheless it was definitely quick sufficient and confirmed no diminution of approach.

As solo performer, Ms. Martínez gave us Manon’s “Je suis encore tout étourdie” from the Massenet opera and the acquainted fake boléro “Les Filles des Cadix” by Delibes.  There have been extra vocally sensual Manons however the Delibes had each precision and panache.

The espagnolerie of Delibes was adopted by two authentically Spanish numbers: the “Zapateado” by Gerónimo Gimenez from the zarzuela La Tempranica, and a tune by Puerto-Rican composer Narciso Figueroa “Mi Rancho.”  Right here once more I missed the Latin shiny/darkish sound in Ms. Martínez’s voice.  Her cool girlish timbre is healthier suited to French repertoire than Italian or Spanish/Latin American.

The soprano all through maintained a moderately restrained, dutiful performing method suggestive of a sophisticated pupil afraid of a adverse rating from a choose or trainer.  Whereas her husband surrenders himself to and is accountable for his materials, the spouse is an achieved executant.

In collaboration each performers obtained much more intriguing with a coloratura soprano solo “Jours de mon enfance” from Hérold’s Le pré aux clercs.   The soprano’s coolly exact and agile singing and Mr. Bell’s violin mastery mixed to light up an obscure however beguiling showpiece from a forgotten composer and opera.

Richard Strauss’ “Morgen!” sounded much more lovely with Mr. Bell’s violin introduction of the moody, nostalgic opening theme and Martínez introduced an ethereal high quality to the vocal line (with out the vocal richness of different well-known singers I might identify however gained’t).

The night completed with an association for voice and violin of Bernstein’s West Aspect Story Suite (arr. Brohn/Czarnecki) that includes each violinist and soprano in highlights from the musical.  Somebody within the viewers vocally objected to Ms. Martínez’s rendition of “I Really feel Fairly” however in any other case each performers introduced their most interesting qualities to this pastiche.  Typically, as within the “Tonight” part, Mr. Bell’s violin was the “Tony” to Martínez’s “Maria”.  Their straightforward chemistry was evident all through the night.

The occasion was an evocation of a misplaced social ritual – the house chamber efficiency or musicale – a remnant of a misplaced time earlier than data, radio, cd’s and Spotify when individuals needed to create their very own musical leisure within the privateness of their houses for his or her associates or simply themselves.

The entire program is accessible on demand right here.

Picture: Shervin Lainez



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