Founders Tribute Concert - Summit Music Festival

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Donald Isler
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Founders Tribute Concert - Summit Music Festival

Post by Donald Isler » Fri Jul 31, 2015 3:52 pm

Tribute To the Founders of the Summit Music Festival at Manhattanville College
Purchase, New York
Irina Tseitlin, Violin
David Krieger, Cello
Efrem Briskin, Piano
Hosted by Robert Sherman
July 30th, 2015

Vytautas Barkaukas: Partita for Solo Violin
Michael Tseitlin: Caprice “Cell Phone,” Op. 3 for Solo Violin
Ms. Tseitlin

Prokofiev: Sonata No. 2 in D Major, Op. 94bis
Ms. Tseitlin, Mr. Briskin

Mendelssohn: Piano Trio No. 1 in D Minor, Op 49
Ms. Tseitlin, Mr. Krieger, Mr. Briskin


This concert, in the elegant Reid Castle at Manhattanville College, was a tribute to the Founders of the Summit Music Festival, Artistic Director Efrem Briskin and Executive Director David Krieger, on the Festival’s 25th anniversary. They were joined by the excellent violinist, Irina Tseitlin, and the program was introduced by Robert Sherman, of WXQR.

It was an impressive evening in many ways. The Festival is much larger than formerly in terms of the number of students participating, and concerts offered. Robert Sherman has a life-long involvement with music and musicians, and classical music on the radio. It’s therefore a point of prestige to have him attend, and host your concert. Finally, musicians know that it’s a serious challenge for enormously busy teachers, like Messrs. Krieger and Briskin, to keep up their own practicing. So it’s terrifically exciting to hear them playing on the glorious level, both technically and musically, that we heard last night.

Vytautas Barkaukas, we were told by Ms. Tseitlin, is a prominent Lithuanian composer, who was influenced by Lutoslawski and Penderecki. The Prelude of this Partita had legato jumps of odd intervals interspersed with pizzicato. The fast, driven Scherzo was followed by the Grave, in which two voices related to each other with different levels of tension as one voice was suspended on a note while the other moved around. The Toccata, which featured fast repeated notes and many fifths, was followed by the Postlude, reminiscent, in some ways, of the Prelude. It had some ghostly sounds, and showed off the violinist’s fine bow control in very soft passages.

The Cell Phone Caprice, by Michael Tseitlin, husband of the violinist, featured double stops, what sounded like a fragment of a Viennese waltz, and brilliant passagework. As I wasn’t familiar with that particular ring tone (which I think was a trill on B-Flat, followed by the notes D and F) I didn’t get the point for awhile. Until the last time, when it appeared at a blatantly inappropriate moment! (Aren’t musical jokes fun, and sophisticated?!)

The Prokofiev Sonata was marvelously played by Ms. Tseitlin and Mr. Briskin. Notable, for this listener, were the beautiful end of the development of the first movement, leading into the recapitulation, the playing of the “exotic” slow section of the second movement, the sensuousness and sarcasm in the third movement, and the brusqueness, and energy in the last movement. Ms. Tseitlin played with impressive strength, and excellent intonation.

The Mendelssohn D Minor Trio is one of the glories of the piano trio repertoire, featuring gorgeous melodies for all three instruments, as well as virtuosity, especially in the piano part. We finally got to hear Mr. Krieger, who produces a lovely, expressive sound. The ensemble was excellent, and no “careful” tempos were ever taken. Indeed, the idea of throwing oneself into a performance body and soul was exemplified here. The outer movements were played with warmth and passion, and Mr. Briskin tossed off the codas with strength and elan. Similarly, the brilliant and treacherous figurations in the third movement did not faze him a bit. Yet, with all this bravura, a definite highpoint of the Trio was the slow movement. Here, Mr. Briskin showed masterful control by getting the pacing, and the dynamic rise and fall of the theme just about ideal.

Donald Isler
Donald Isler

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