May 21, 2024


Buzz The Music

Pianists direct the way in tunes festival’s opening weekend

Daniil Trifonov was 1 of three pianists that performed opening weekend of Aspen Music Festival.
Diego Redel/Courtesy image

Opening weekend for the Aspen Tunes Competition leaned heavily into this year’s concept, “Adoration of the Earth,” from Sea Interludes to the Ceremony of Spring. The most musically persuasive element, nevertheless, was a prospect to examine and distinction piano soloists this kind of as the fiery Daniil Trifonov, the stylish Joyce Yang and the mercurial Alexander Malofeev.

Which is the Aspen festival in a nutshell for audiences, eight months of programming that facilities on four ad hoc orchestras and a lineup of viewing soloists that undertaking into the Rocky Mountains to make audio, generally at as a high amount as the alpine setting at practically 8,000 feet. Some 400 youthful new music college students sit in the orchestras along with principals from main philharmonic and chamber music ensembles.

Meant to concentrate on how tunes expresses our human partnership with nature, the concept title comes directly from Part Just one of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, which capped off the Aspen Festival Orchestra’s to start with application Sunday. But not ahead of Trifonov, in the most jaw-dropping performance, applied impeccable method to Gershwin’s Concerto in F.

This concerto was a late alter for the scheduled Prokofiev’s Concerto No.3 so Trifonov could get in a several dwell performances ahead of recording the Gershwin with the Philadelphia Orchestra in September. If this was his very first go-by means of, the head reels at how great it may well get by then. Gershwin’s sly swing, his ripples of decoration as the audio develops, perky rhythms and supple tunes all emerged with fluidity and temperament. If the conductor, the festival’s tunes director Robert Spano, as well frequently authorized the outsized orchestra to overwhelm the piano, what we listened to from the soloist was absolutely mesmerizing.

(Even greater was the encore, Debussy’s “Reflections of water,” which he started virtually as if it were an extension of Gershwin’s fashion, and made five minutes of bliss.)

The massive-boned efficiency of the Rite of Spring that followed was notable for a sinuous opening by bassoonist Daniel Matsukawa (principal bassoon of the Philadelphia Orchestra) and superb do the job from timpanists Edward Stephan (San Francisco Symphony) and Sean Swenson, his pupil at San Francisco Conservatory and below in Aspen. The all round speed was wonderful, even if subtleties have been missing.

The opener, Brian Raphael Nabors’ “Of Earth and Sky: Tales from the Motherland,” utilised African musical tropes, innovative orchestration and driving rhythms to develop what the composer explained as an imaginary world.

in the initially orchestral software of the weekend Friday the Aspen Chamber Orchestra, below the baton of Jane Glover, a common visitor to Aspen, designed the Sea Interludes into vivid scene-painting and the “Pastoral” Symphony made its details with finesse and a feeling of equilibrium among rhythmic vitality and tonal color.

For her portion, Yang introduced a sort of soulful refinement to Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24 in C small, producing it the jewel of Friday’s program. With impeccable handle of tempo, tempo and contact, and with sensitive and energetic conducting by Glover, Mozart emerged with a feeling of unanimity and flair. This was not present-off things, but a heartfelt evocation of 1 of the good concertos in the repertoire.

Opening night Thursday introduced pianist Alexander Malofeev in an uneven but charming recital in Harris Corridor. The 21-12 months-outdated Russian’s command of the instrument was outstanding all over, even if he fared much better in functions by Russian composers than with Liszt or Beethoven.

He obtained off to an unfocused start off with an interpretation of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 17 in D minimal that blurred edges of the composer’s clarity, but the next couple parts (played devoid of a crack) conjured up a lovely realm of serenity and soulfulness at their greatest. Skyiabin’s Prelude and Nocturne for the Left Hand unfolded with unhurried lyricism and suppleness. Liszt’s transcription of Wagner’s Overture to Tannhäuser suspended time nicely in the opening hymn, and little by little constructed to a crashing end. If some of the details of Wagner’s complexity fell by the wayside, it was clear that Malofeev’s intent was to carry out pianistic things of the writing relatively than a devoted model of the chaotic orchestral original.

Finest of all was the concluding set of Rachmaninoff preludes, starting up with the Elegie in E-flat insignificant (which carried hints of the Skryabin piece and the Liszt in its stately opening steps), main to an efficiently easy Prelude in C-sharp minimal (maybe the composer’s finest regarded tunes). The 8 small episodes of the Études Tableaux Op.33 each explained to their tales with colour and precision, and the pianist nicely emphasized the remaining gestures that echoed comparable chords in the well known prelude. The charming encore was the similar composer’s Lilacs.

As if Trifonov, Yang and Malofeev weren’t adequate for piano admirers, there was much more to value in Saturday afternoon’s chamber tunes system and the evening’s recital by soprano Ana María Martînez.

Malofeev returned to enjoy Dvořák’s seldom listened to Piano Quintet No. 1 in A major in a marvelously happy functionality with violinists Kathleen Winkler and Jinu Suk, violist James Dunham and cellist Eric Kim. The pianist proved a worthy colleague in these types of ensembles. Afterwards in the method Anton Nel demonstrated why he’s in desire for chamber music with school below, supplying plush textures for a salon-like Romance that highlighted college violinists Naoko Tanaka, Renata Arado, Bing Wang and Cornelia Read, and teamed with pianist Cameron Stowe for Debussy’s two-piano model of Schumann’s 6 Studies in Canon Kind. The last Adagio was specifically wonderful.

In Martínez’s all-Spanish recital Myra Huang, director of musical administration and head coach for the Aspen Opera Theater and VocalARTS system, flexed her pianistic muscular tissues (and tremendous stamina) as the accompanist. Martínez utilized a significant but versatile soprano to Turina’s Poema en forma de canciones and Falla’s Siete canciones popolares españolas, then teamed with 4 extremely talented Hispanic college students in the opera system for a series of zesty solos and duets from zarzuelas (Spanish light-weight opera).

Standout times included extraordinary tenor César Andrés Parreño’s ‘Non puede ser’ from Zábal’s La tabernera del puerto and soprano Kesley Figueroa’s duet with Martínez. ‘Todas las mañanitas’ from Panella Moreno’s Don Gil de Alcalá intertwined Figueroa’s and Maertínez’s beautiful and complementary voices. Parreños and Figueroa wrapped up the live performance with a whole-electrical power ‘Torero quiero se’ from Panella Moreno’s El gato montiés.