Thursday, April 26, 2007

Five Things about Maria Bachmann

I heard the delightful recital (entitled the Red Violin, in reference to her latest cd) by Maria Bachmann and Jon Klibonoff Wednesday night at Merkin Hall in NYC.
1. The program began with Ravel's Violin Sonata - lesser violinists might end with this work - Maria began with it and not only played it from memory but with the flair of a world premiere - like she was making it up and creating the music right then and there. Few pianists could keep up with such tempos and do so with such amazing ensemble - Jon Klibonoff was more than a match, truly a musical partner/creator.
2. I've never been a fan of Copland's violin pieces, the Ukelele Serenade and Nocturne - I've read through them myself, and heard numerous recordings. That is, until last February when I heard Maria and Jon play them...suddenly, the pieces came to life and made sense. That usually doesn't happen to me, I get it or don't right off. So it was a delight to hear these Copland gems in concert.
3. John Corigliano was at the recital last night (seen left - on stage making remarks) and was delighted in hearing the "world premiere" of his Red Violin Chaconne for Violin and Piano. He joked that he was such a conservationist that he recycled the work from the orchestral version and also into the first movement of his violin concerto. I can't imagine playing the chaconne in front of the composer, for the first time, or recording it and then premiering it as Maria did. She again was playing from memory, and certainly showed no signs of nerves - only the gregariousness of her fiddle. I joked with Corigliano afterwards that Maria is such a shy player and oh so delicate. After hearing this in concert, I really put Klibonoff on a whole other level of musicians - he was stunning.
4. After intermission, Maria's friend and composer extraordinare Paul Moravec (seen right, on stage making remarks and joking about his age) had three pieces, written for or arranged for Maria. Paul has a unassuming manner, and a real flair of capturing Maria's energy in his works. He also wrote "Evermore" for Maria and her husband Josh - a real gorgeous work that is on the album (see below) - a must hear. Paul also told a great anecdote about the Ariel Fantasy, which became the first movement of his Tempest Fantasy that took the 2004 Pulitzer Prize...he (Paul) is Prospero to Maria's Ariel - how poetic. [You can hear Maria talk about Paul's music in an interview on Composing Thoughts here.]
5. The recital ended with George Enescu's 3rd Violin Sonata. It's not on the Red Violin cd but "fits the energy and music" of the disc as Maria stated from the stage. It also was performed from memory and with the outstanding panache that Maria brings to her music making. Lucy Miller from her program notes aptly says that while it is a violin sonata, the piano certainly has as many notes and is as virtuosic. Hear hear! Maria and Jon followed it with a short Gershwin selection (arranged by Jon) as an encore.
You can find the cd here, and definitely plan to hear her if you can: with Trio Soloisti, the Lark Quartet or in recital, you'll be glad you did!
Seen afterwards: the producer of the Red Violin Adam Abeshouse, Paul Moravec, and John Corigliano at Merkin Recital Hall.

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