Chamber Music Concert – Summit Music Festival

Have you been to a concert somewhere in the world recently? Share your thoughts with us about the performance, the more details the better!

Moderators: Lance, Corlyss_D

Post Reply
Donald Isler
Posts: 2964
Joined: Tue May 20, 2003 11:01 am
Contact:

Chamber Music Concert – Summit Music Festival

Post by Donald Isler » Tue Aug 05, 2014 12:52 pm

Chamber Music Concert - Summit Music Festival at Manhattanville College
Purchase, New York
August 4th, 2014

Brahms: Sonata No. 3 in D Minor for Violin and Piano, Op. 108
Dmitri Berlinsky, violin
Efrem Briskin, piano

Mahler: Piano Quartet in A Minor
Dmitri Berlinsky, violin
Michael Klotz, viola
Andrey Tchekmazov, cello
Massimiliano Mainolfi, piano

Shostakovich: Trio No. 2 in E Minor, Op. 67
Dmitri Berlinsky, violin
Andrey Tchekmazov, cello
Massimiliano Mainolfi, piano


Last night’s concert was an interesting combination of well-known chamber works (the Brahms and Shostakovich) and a rarely played work by another major composer (the Mahler).

The Brahms Sonata was played by Dmitri Berlinsky, a very well-known violinist, and Efrem Briskin, Artistic Director of the Festival. Mr. Briskin has been a friend and colleague of mine for over 30 years, and is something of an American success story, having come here from Russia in 1979 and, with talent and extremely hard work, developed a career as a pianist, as director of three major music festivals, and as a highly in demand teacher of advanced piano students.

The first movement was lovingly played, a bit slower than one sometimes hears it, with liberal, but well thought out tempo flexibility. As was the case for all of this program, the balance between the instruments was excellent. The second movement was heartfelt and quite slow, the third alternately wistful and defiant, and the fourth dramatic and powerful, with the performers showing wonderful sensitivity to color and harmonic changes. Mr. Berlinsky was particularly impressive in the high tessitura and one was reminded again what a fine ensemble player Mr. Briskin is.

The Mahler Quartet was written when the composer was 16 years old. Brooding and intense in some sections, and having a lovely sweep and flow in others, it was given a very fine performance. This work is, of course, early Mahler, very romantic in style but without his recognizable imprint. A section in D Minor even made me think of the Arensky Piano Trio in that key. Later, mature Mahler would not likely suggest that.

Rostislav Dubinsky, of the Borodin String Quartet, who knew Shostakovich, said of the composer's Second Piano Trio: "………. if one wants to express the music of the trio in words, its very beginning sounds like an anxious premonition of misfortune. It overwhelms the listener without mercy, and eventually, in the second movement, in the scherzo, there bursts forth a fiendish, destructive dance of death. In the third movement, the passacaglia, one hears blood-curdling piano chords. Is it not the sound of a hammer on a railway track which tells the prisoners of the concentration camp that 'one more day in the life of Ivan Denisovich' has started? While this evil sound reverberates across the hall, the violin and cello weep and pray for the people who perished.

The finale increases in tension, achieving in chamber music the rarely attained dynamic fff. When it seems that all means of expression are exhausted, the violin and cello unexpectedly become mute. As if in deathly agony, a wail escapes from a throat strangled by an iron hand. The trio ends with the initial Jewish motif, disappearing into nothingness, like a question mark about the fate of the whole nation. It was the courageous act of an artist who dares to tell the truth and who, for this, in four years' time would be condemned to silence."

One of the great works of the piano trio literature, it is difficult to describe the Trio better than Mr. Dubinsky has. The first movement was indeed eerie and ominous, the second extremely fast and appropriately grotesque, punctuating the loud groans in the music. The third movement was very slow but always moved, with painfully intense dissonances, and featured some particularly expressive playing by Mr. Tchekmazov. At the beginning of the fourth movement Mr. Berlinsky played the Hasidic theme with remarkable rhythmic and expressive nuance, for a pizzicato section, and set just the right mood. Mr. Mainolfi was a powerful, but never overpowering partner to the two string players.

All of the performances were received with enthusiasm by the audience.

Donald Isler
Donald Isler

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests