LAWRENCE BUDMEN listens to the Chameleon Musicians
on a Sunday afternoon can be an irresistible artistic soufflé.
Set in the intimate salon atmosphere of the ballroom at the Leiser
Opera Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA, the Chameleon Musicians'
Series offers the opportunity to experience chamber music in its
purest form. First rate artists gather to enjoy each other's company
and play significant works from the highways and byways of the
On 8 March 2009 Iris van Eck, cellist and founder of the Chameleon
concerts, joined the superb Amernet Quartet and Toby Appel, one
of the world's most distinguished violists and faculty member
at the Juilliard School and Carnegie Mellon and Yale Universities,
for an afternoon of nineteenth century ensemble works. In celebration
of the two hundredth anniversary of Mendelssohn's birth, one of
that composer's masterworks was the centerpiece on a program that
also featured a rarity by his contemporary Louise Farrenc and
a Tchaikovsky evergreen.
The French-born Farrenc (1804-1875) was an active pianist, composer
and pedagogue. Her Quintet for 2 violins, viola and 2 cellos,
Op 38 is a transcription of a Nonet for flute, oboe, clarinet,
bassoon, horn, violin, viola, cello and bass. Never published
in the composer's lifetime, the score has been issued by Hildegard
Publishing Company. A well-crafted essay that seems ideal for
intimate performance spaces (rather than large concert halls),
Farrenc's String Quintet features some lovely melodies that receive
formulaic development. This is music that never astounds but offers
much pleasure. A charming Scherzo reminiscent of the instrumental
writing of Charles Gounod is particularly enticing. Van Eck joined
the excellent Amernet players (violinists Misha Vitenson and Marcia
Littley Arias, violist Michael Klotz and cellist Javier Arias)
for a spirited, elegantly spun rendition of this seldom heard
If Farrenc's piece was a pleasant appetizer, Mendelssohn's Quintet
for 2 violins, 2 violas and cello in B flat, Op 87 was a stimulating
main course, an authentic masterpiece. While Mendelssohn's melodic
facility is as rich as ever in this late score, the quintet is
replete with new and surprising developments. Thematic threads
and contrasts rarely lead to expected ends. Unconventional turns
of phrase and developmental journeys abound in this passionate
score. The Adagio e lento (third movement) is deeply moving, almost
elegiac in spirit and fervor. Not for the musical meek of heart
or technique, this Mendelssohn gem requires virtuosic performance
by a finely knit ensemble. Buttressed by the rich darkness of
Appel's viola resonance, the Amernet Quartet offered an exciting,
supple and romantically intense performance. The pulsating vivacity
of the players' music making brought the Allegro molto vivace
finale to an exhilarating conclusion. Here was chamber music playing
at its finest by one of America's stellar ensembles!
Tchaikovsky's Souvenir de Florence is a chamber music mainstay.
While airy lightness and thematic richness of Tchaikovsky's musical
invention are evident in abundance in this ambitious sextet, the
technical and formal rigor of this work is a fine example of the
composer's structural mastery. Always considered an inspired melodist,
Tchaikovsky has often been underrated for his craftsmanship and
the grace and felicitous inventiveness of his instrumental writing.
Chameleon founder Van Eck played the gorgeous cello solos with
crystalline musicianship and fervent, heated intensity of utterance.
Appel's ruminative tonal glow, subtle phrasing and imposing technique
brought depth to the ensemble. With the Amernet Quartet in high
voltage form, this Souvenir traced the brooding passion of the
Adagio cantabile e con moto and the lithe energy of the concluding
Allegro vivace with equal bravura and grace. This super intense
performance was a wonderful finale to a delightful afternoon of
The Chameleon Series presents its concluding concert of the season
on Sunday 19 April 2009 at the Leiser Opera Center in Fort Lauderdale,
Florida, USA. Violinist Dmitri Pogorelov, pianist Kemal Gekic
and cellist Iris van Eck will play works by Halvorsen, Mendelssohn
and Rimsky-Korsakov. See www.chameleonmusicians.org for information.
November 26, 2008...3:39 pm
Has Max Regers time come at last?
Jump to Comments
cellist Iris van Eck opens her Chameleon Musicians series in Fort
Lauderdale with music by Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann and Max
The music includes
two string trios: Beethovens Op. 9, No. 3, in C minor, and
the Schubert B-flat, D. 471. Schumanns powerful E-flat major
Piano Quartet, Op. 47, is also on the program, and then theres
one of the three solo cello suites of Reger in D minor,
Op. 131c, No. 2. Van Eck is going to record all three of the solo
Reger suites in the coming months, and Ill be eager to hear
them.Reger, a tall, large man who died of a heart attack at just
43, was critically derided for decades because of his ornate,
thick style, his long-windedness and his essentially dead-serious
body of work. At first he sounds a lot like a Wagnerian Brahms,
but without the tunes, and yet when I play some of the pieces
from his Op. 82 collection, Aus Meinem Tagebuch, I find someone
whos more like the Schoenberg of Verklaerte Nacht.
Reger died in
1916, and some of the most radical music of the century had already
been written, but this music sounds in many places like he would
have been not far behind his colleagues, if he took longer to
The most crucial
composer for Reger was Bach, and much of what he wrote has a contrapuntal
feel. Organists play his music a good deal, but it would be welcome
to hear some more of his chamber music. He wrote a gargantuan
amount of music in his short life something like 1,000
pieces and I dont know of any concerted effort right
now for a serious exploration of his chamber music in performance,
to say nothing of the rest of his work.
But it looks
to me that interest in Reger is growing. I have heard his music
more often in the past five years that I can remember before,
including a flute, violin and viola trio at this years Palm
Beach Chamber Music Festival, and a lovely Reger arrangement of
a Bach organ prelude for chamber orchestra in last years
season of the Boca Raton Symphonia.
And one of Regers
songs the Maria Wiegenlied from his 60-song Op. 76 collection
(its No. 52) seems to be getting sung more frequently
at Christmastime. Its a lovely piece that makes good use
of the folksong Joseph lieber, Joseph mein, amid a Wolf-like chromaticism
that gives this tender song a heartfelt emotionalism thats
hard to resist.
It could be that
Max Regers time has come at last. As the worlds performing
organizations look in the libraries for good music from the Romantic
era that they might have missed, Reger offers a very large selection
to look through.
For five years the fine Netherlands-born cellist Iris van Eck
has been running a good string chamber music series at the Leiser
Opera Center in the arts district of downtown Fort Lauderdale.
Her new season opens at 3 p.m. Sunday with string trios by Beethoven
and Schubert and the great E-flat Piano Quartet of Robert Schumann
(with pianist Misha Dacic, a frequent guest), but the cognoscenti
will be listening for van Eck to perform one of the three solo
cello suites by Max Reger (all of which she'll record in the coming
months). Tickets are $30, half that if you're a student. Call
954-761-3435 for more information or visit www.chameleonmusicians.org.
Chameleon opens season in high spirits
By Greg Stepanich
a spirited reading of the Schumann Piano Quartet, violist Michael
Klotz turned to the audience just before his fellow Chameleon
musicians began the slow movement.
"This is one of the most beautiful pieces ever written,"
Klotz said, referring to the Andante cantabile, and that we're-among-friends
moment says a lot about the Chameleon series, which opened its
seventh season Sunday afternoon at the Leiser Opera Center in
Cellist Iris van Eck launched her chamber music series, which
has mostly involved pieces for strings, back in 2002, and it has
retained a loose, convivial feel that serves the audience well
and showcases dedicated musicians doing what they love to do best.
These are professionals who play more like enthusiasts than veteran
players numbed by routine.
For the first of her four seasonal programs, Dutch-born van Eck
programmed along with the Schumann Quartet, early string trios
by Schubert (in B-flat, D. 471) and Beethoven (in C minor, Op.
9, No. 3). She also took a turn in the solo spotlight with the
second of three solo cello suites written by Max Reger, all three
of which she will record in December.
The two trios featured van Eck, Klotz and violinist Misha Vitenson.
They make a strong unit; all three are fine players, and they
can be heard to good individual as well as group effect. The Schubert
trio, a one-movement work written when the composer was only 19,
pays homage to its Mozart and Haydn models but has a powerful
melodic profile that announces a strong new voice. Ensemble here
was tight and springy, which gave the group's reading of the piece
an admirable freshness.
The Beethoven trio also announces the arrival of a significant
composer, one for whom a restless, brusque energy is not only
important but crucial to narrative structure. Here, too, the ensemble
was clean and vigorous, and advocated well for Beethoven's intentions.
Particularly notable was the tension each player brought to his
and her iterations of the three-note motif that drives the argument
of the first movement, and Vitenson's deft handling of the elaborate,
aria-like figurations of the slow movement.
The Schumann Piano Quartet in E-flat that occupied the second
half of the concert also abounded in high spirits. Pianist Misha
Dacic joined van Eck, Klotz and Vitenson for this popular, appealing
work, and once again sheer joy in music-making was much in evidence.
Things seemed slightly out of balance in the third movement, though,
as pianist Dacic tended to play his accompaniment figures a bit
too loud for the other players, overwhelming the lovely tune.
Schumann's writing there (particularly in the staccato passages)
is often thick and when played on a modern concert grand can easily
drown out the strings.
Van Eck told the audience she had fallen in love with the three
Reger suites this summer as she prepared them for a recording.
Reger is a composer who, after years of critical derision and
absence from concert programs, is now getting more frequently
played and recorded. Van Eck played the second of the three suites,
in D minor, a four-movement work that looks back to Bach, who
was Reger's compositional lodestar.
This is a beautiful work, quite severe in its opening movement
(a slow Preludium) and very Bachian indeed in its second movement
Gavotte and its closing Gigue. The third movement Largo has one
of those endless, long-breathed melodic lines, and, overall, it's
a piece that deserves to be in the repertory of serious cellists.
Van Eck is a fine player with a considerable technique who produces
a focused, intense tone color, and she made a persuasive case
for the suite. Still, this is a very difficult piece and at times
van Eck ran into trouble, especially in the double and triple
stop passages of the first movement, which weren't satisfactorily
in tune. She also seemed to be trying too hard throughout to make
an impact with the piece and often played with a noticeable stiffness,
suggesting that while she may have the piece in her fingers, she
doesn't feel entirely comfortable with it yet.
Van Eck is taking an important stand for the cello repertoire
by performing and recording these works, and she should be commended
for it. But the music itself needs to breathe a bit more in her
hands, and it may take a few more outings with the suites in public
before that happens.
The Chameleon series resumes at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009,
when van Eck will be joined by pianist Kemal Gekic for music by
Prokofiev, Mendelssohn, Locatelli and Ginastera. Single tickets
are $30 and can be had by calling 954-761-3435 or visiting www.chameleonmusicians.com.
Greg Stepanich has covered classical music, theater and dance
for 25 years at newspapers in Illinois, West Virginia and Florida.
He worked for 10 years at The Palm Beach Post, where he was an
assistant business editor and pilot of Classical Musings, a classical
music blog. He now blogs for the Palm Beach ArtsPaper at www.pbartspaper.com
and at classicalgreg.wordpress.com. He also works as a freelance
writer and composer.
Posted in Performances
Sun-Sentinel March 3, 2008
Series ends season with emotional depth
By Lawrence Budmen,
for South Florida Sun-Sentinel
strains and fiery eruptions of gypsy violins and guitars have
provided inspiration for some of the greatest composers of the
past three centuries. The Chameleon Series celebrated that legacy
on Sunday at its final program of the season.
Two trios for
violin, piano and cello bookended the intimate concert at the
Leiser Opera Center. Haydn's Trio in G Major reflects the elegance
of rococo classicism with a dose of Hungarian musical flavoring.
The subtle interplay of Michael Klotz's incisive violin, Iris
van Eck's patrician cello and Misha Dacic's sensitive keyboard
figurations was devoid of overt exhibitionism, allowing the music
to speak with natural, unforced lyricism.
Klotz brought unusual depth to the emotional contours of the Poco
adagio. The Rondo all'Ongarese finale received brisk, effervescent
treatment from the trio, with Dacic cutting loose in the gypsy
Trio in E minor (Dumky) emerged freshly minted in the Chameleon
threesome's exciting and richly communicative interpretation.
From the mysterious opening measures of the Lento maestoso to
the robust Furiants and Czech dances, the players exhibited a
sense of wonder in every bar. In the second movement, Van Eck's
rich cello tone communicated Dvorak's Bohemian nostalgia.
After Dacic's flowing octaves of keyboard color in the Andante,
a blazing rendition of the concluding Vivace dazzled with surefire
bravura. The musicians played with the polished ensemble and precision
of a full-time chamber music group.
Dacic had a field
day with Vladimir Horowitz's extravagant elaboration of Liszt's
Hungarian Rhapsody No.2, encompassing the powerhouse fireworks
and rollicking dance rhythms with incendiary verve. In the coda,
the pianist's hands flew across the keyboard in a visual blur.
by birth, Georges Enescu lived in Paris for much of his professional
life. His Concert Piece for viola and piano reflects the Franco-European
élan of Saint-Saens and Chausson. Klotz, a member of the
Amernet String Quartet and principal violist of the Boca Raton
Symphonia, played this beautiful score with aristocratic restraint.
Van Eck performed
the rarely heard cello version of Bartok's First Rhapsody, composed
in 1928 for legendary violinist Joseph Szigeti. The deeper colors
of the cello bring the music's dark, brooding subtext to the fore.
Van Eck mastered Bartok's high flying harmonics in a performance
of intense fervor with a dash of Hungarian paprika.
can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.lawrencebudmen.com
Copyright © 2008, www.sun-sentinel.com
A review of the
By LAWRENCE BUDMEN
South Florida Sun-Sentinel January 14 2008
van Eck and pianist Kemal Gekic proved a near perfect duo, matching
sonic power and vivid instrumental personalities at the Chameleon
series' afternoon musicale on January 13 at the Leiser Opera Center
in Ft. Lauderdale.
The players captured
the Mediterranean languor of Debussy's Sonata in D minor, making
child's play of the tricky rhythms and dissonant harmonics of
the Serenade et Finale. The first of three sonatas for varied
instrumental combinations penned in the final two years of the
composer's life, this score ventures beyond impressionism to embrace
the astringent textures and motoric thrust that were sweeping
Europe via the balletic scores of Stravinsky and Prokofiev. Van
Eck and Gekic illuminated the Gallic enchantment of this path
breaking work which still sounds astoundingly modern in the 21st
in C Major, Op.102, No.1 is one of those remarkable creations
from the master's late period that reinvented the chamber music
genre. Gekic lavished a whirlwind of pianistic exuberance on this
emotionally volatile score, channeling subtlety as well as thunder.
Van Eck' s warmly expressive delineation of the Adagio preceded
an appropriately brusque Allegro vivace.
From the first
solemn chords to the bright, lithe finale, the duo brought dash
and sparkle to the Baroque felicities of Handel's Sonata. Van
Eck's dark tonal palette and measured, expansive pace probed the
depths of the soulful Sarabande. Gekic exhibited unusual delicacy
in this stylish recreation of an early instrumental showpiece.
Pohadka (fairy tale) was a fascinating panoply of repetitive figurations
that suggested contemporary minimalism and vivacious Czech melodies
that would not have been out of place in a Dvorak string quartet.
The musicians' incisive performance offered a wealth of instrumental
coloration. Every pianistic hue and plucked string motif was tellingly
for fiery octaves launched Brahms' Sonata in F Major in blazing
style. Van Eck eloquently spun the main theme of the Adagio affetuoso,
a quintessentially Brahmsian melody of elongated passion. Instead
of the usual heavy handed sobriety, the cellist exhibited a light
touch in the charming Allegro passionato, reserving appealingly
pensive edginess for the movement' s secondary theme. The explosive
fireworks of the concluding Allegro molto were dispatched with
daredevil verve and precision.
Copyright © 2008,
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
chamber music series
November 30, 2007
Even in compositional lives as well-known as those of Mozart and
Brahms, there are many pages of music that deserve to be heard
more often, but which for one reason or another suffer neglect.
Just reviving the music isn't enough. Commitment on the part of
musicians who interpret these works is vital, and last Sunday
at the Leiser Opera Center in Fort Lauderdale, a receptive audience
got to hear both: Wonderful scores and passionate musicians who
brought them to life.
In the opening afternoon of its three-concert season, the Chameleon
chamber music series offered powerful performances of a late string
trio by Mozart and an early string sextet by Brahms, plus a solo
viola version of a J.S. Bach suite for solo cello. The camaraderie
on the part of the musicians - Florida International University
resident ensemble the Amernet Quartet (pictured above), joined
by violist Chauncey Patterson and Chameleon founder Iris van Eck
on cello - was evident throughout this nourishing, enlightening
afternoon of great chamber music, beautifully played.
For the six-movement Divertimento
for string trio (in E-flat, K. 563) of Mozart, van Eck was joined
by violist Michael Klotz and violinist Misha Vitenson. This trio,
which dates from 1788, provides compelling evidence of the scholarly
contention that Mozart, for all his wondrous ability displayed
so young, was in reality a late bloomer as a composer. It's in
works such as this that we can hear a musician who is innovating
in almost each bar, confounding expectations every step of the
Vitenson, Klotz and van Eck blended nicely as an ensemble, with
a springy, tightly controlled sound that allowed the solo writing
to spin off logically from the core and at the same time offered
the ability to sustain a single mood for a sustained period of
time. This was clear right from the start of the piece, with a
standard Mozartean chordal-outline opening and gentle answer followed
by a sudden blizzard of scales from violin and viola that suggested
the music would be taking in a good deal of territory.
Some of the most compelling playing came in the fourth movement,
a theme and variations that exploits a wealth of styles and colors,
including a minor-key moment in which the three musicians created
a persuasive mood of antiquity. The restraint with which they
played the fifth movement Minuet provided excellent contrast with
the preceding movement and the finale, a wide-open piece full
of rich, soaring melody and difficult string writing.
Violist Klotz opened the
concert with the First Cello Suite (in G major, BWV 1007) of Bach.
Klotz's tempos were on the slow, reflective side, particularly
in the opening Prelude and closing Gigue, and it worked well for
his kind of playing, which is elegant, technically polished, and
His sound is more focused and penetrating than it is large, but
it's very attractive and full of personality; I enjoyed hearing
his intimate reading of this famous music, which worked just as
well on the viola as it does on the cello.
The second half of the
concert was devoted to the Sextet in B-flat, Op. 18, of Brahms,
completed in 1860 when the composer was in his late 20s. This
is a long, gorgeous work, full of rapturous melodic invention
and a marvelous ear for the myriad textures you can get out of
two violins, two violas and two cellos.
The Amernet Quartet (Vitenson, violinist Marcia Littley, Klotz,
and cellist Javier Arias) joined forces with Patterson and van
Eck for the Brahms, and from the first minute it was clear that
all six musicians would be focusing all their efforts on giving
this work an all-out performance.
The strength and forcefulness of the group's playing in the first
movement was ideal for the bigness of Brahms' writing, with its
long-breathed tunes and fat harmonies. Arias' solo work, intense
and accomplished, was particularly compelling here.
And as it was with the Mozart, contrast was crucial for the Brahms.
The widely ranging second movement (also a theme and variations),
which covered an encyclopedia of emotion, was sharply differentiated
from the brief scherzo that followed, to which the sextet gave
a light, delicate touch.
The finale, a catchy rondo, ends excitingly as the instruments
speed up to a whirlwind close for the last bars. The group's exemplary
level of communication paid off handsomely as the six players
galloped to the exuberant ending, at which point the audience's
shouts of approval showed just how wrapped up they'd been throughout
Chamber music is a uniquely rewarding form because so many of
the greatest composers' most profound thoughts were entrusted
to these small ensembles. And when the playing is at as high a
level as it was for the Chameleon concert, it comes close to being
the only kind of music-making that truly satisfies.
Posted by Greg Stepanich at November 30, 2007 7:00 PM
Series' season opener South
By Lawrence Budmen
November 27, 2007
The Chameleon Musicians
Series season opener on Sunday featured major works by two of
the three B's, plus a rarely played Mozart masterwork as centerpiece.
Fort Lauderdale's Leisure Opera Center ballroom is an inviting
venue for chamber music, boasting warmly vibrant acoustics and
the intimate aura of a salon.
The Amernet String Quartet
joined cellist Iris van Eck (director of the Chameleon concerts)
and violist Chauncey Patterson (formerly of the Miami String Quartet)
for Brahms' Sextet No. 1 in B-flat Major. Resident ensemble at
Florida International University, the Amernet players (Misha Vitenson
and Marcia Littley, violins; Michael Klotz, viola; and Javier
Arias, cello) brought heartfelt passion, generous expressivity
and high-voltage excitement to one of Brahms' earliest chamber
With a wonderful sense
of romantic grandeur pervading the entire performance, the musicians'
relaxed, spacious approach to the opening movement was almost
improvisatory. Arias' glorious cello variations in the solemn
Andante captured the movement's dramatic cast. Klotz and Patterson
deftly traced the viola's soaring theme. With Vitenson providing
volcanic leadership, the Scherzo was essayed with palpable gypsy
fire. Van Eck's rich cello sound ignited the fiercely intense
Mozart's Divertimento in
E-flat Major, K.563 is a towering work for string trio. Written
three years before the composer's death, the score is tinged with
the pathos finely etched in many of Mozart's late masterpieces.
Van Eck, Vitenson and Klotz offered spirited rhythmic drive and
precise articulation. In the Andante, a theme of deceptive simplicity
was phrased with tenderness and delicacy. The Menuetto seemed
to dance off the strings with scintillating vivacity. Taut, wonderfully
quirky shaping infused the concluding Allegro, one of Mozart's
most divine inventions.
The concert commenced with
Klotz taking solo honors in a viola transcription of Bach's Cello
Suite No. 1 in G Major. Popularized by Pablo Casals, the score
proved surprisingly adaptable to the smaller instrument. Klotz
produced darkly burnished, full tone and clarity of instrumental
line. He shaped the familiar Prelude eloquently. Far from courtly
dance graces, the violist displayed modernist urgency in a brilliant
reading of the Courante, and infused the delightful Gigue with
the invigorating joy of the dance.
Lawrence Budmen can be
reached at email@example.com.
Copyright © 2007, South Florida Sun
Least Klotz/van Eck/Dacic
MICHAEL KLOTZ/ MISHA DACIC/ IRIS VAN ECK (5-21-06)
By Lawrence Budmen http://www.lawrencebudmen.com/reviews_chameleon_musicians_klotz_dacic_van_eck.html
The brooding, melancholy
strains of the Elegia, Adagio from Anton Arensky's Piano Trio
in D Minor, Op.32 seem to evoke a different world, the Proustian
musical reminiscence of things past - albeit a Russian (rather
than French) one. This infrequently played chamber music masterpiece
formed the bracing conclusion of the final concert of the season
by Chameleon Musicians on May 21 at the Josephine Leiser Opera
Center in Ft. Lauderdale.
Arensky was a pupil of
Tchaikovsky. He eventually taught Alexander Scriabin and Nikolai
Medtner at the Moscow Conservatory. Arensky's small but outstanding
compositional output sings with the spirit of Russian romanticism;
yet he managed to bring new blood and vitality to a traditional
musical language. The Piano Trio is a superb work that brims with
inspired melodies, intense instrumental utterance, and bravura
display. While Tchaikovsky's Trio is clearly this work's antecedent,
Arensky's score is both more classically restrained and vibrantly
The Chameleon performance
marked the afternoon's high point. Michael Klotz, the superb violist
of the Amernet String Quartet, switched to the violin and proved
to be formidable on that instrument. The founder and director
of the Chameleon series Iris van Eck brought her superbly burnished
tone and musical intelligence to the cello line. Pianist Misha
Dacic (well known locally from his appearances at the Miami International
Piano Festival) offered deep understanding of the work's Slavic
The gorgeous violin-cello
interaction between Van Eck and Klotz propelled the Elegia to
glowing heights. This music needs to be played with heart. They
offered plenty of that plus a wonderful sense of musical spontaneity.
Dacic's rippling pianistic runs set the Scherzo, Allegro Molto
on fire. Klotz's violin glistened in the glorious opening theme
of the initial Allegro moderato. The entire movement was played
by this formidable threesome with uninhibited white heat. The
Finale, Allegro non troppo was simply brilliant. Here was a performance
The Arensky was Dacic's
best offering of the afternoon. This gifted pianist struggled
with the Leiser Center's clunky, ill sounding piano. He managed
to play Rachmaninoff's Andante from the Sonata for Cello and Piano,
Op.19 (in the beautiful transcription by the formidable Arcadi
Volodos) with exquisite lyrical line. Polka Italienne, however,
failed to sparkle. Dacic has played these pieces wonderfully in
the past. He was clearly hampered by the deficient keyboard instrument.
Klotz dedicated his performance
of Grieg's Sonata for Violin and Piano in C Minor, Op.45 to the
memory of the great violinist and pedagogue Oscar Shumsky. He
had first heard this melodious score through a recording by Shumsky
and Seymour Lipkin. Grieg's penchant for endlessly beautiful melodies
takes wing in this violinistic tour de force. Klotz basked in
the score's lyricism but also offered scintillating violinistic
fireworks. With Dacic providing forceful underpinning, the music's
debt to Brahms was vividly conveyed.
Van Eck opened the program
with a genuine rarity - Alexander Borodin's Sonata for Cello and
Piano in B Minor. Fascinated with the music of Bach, the composer
used two themes from that master's Cello Suites as inspiration
and unifying motifs in the sonata's three movements. (The third
movement was left incomplete in an unpublished manuscript. Michael
Goldstein completed the score from the composer's sketches.) Two
soaring themes in this appealing score were recycled by Borodin
in his Second Symphony and the opera Prince Igor. Van Eck played
this interesting work with communicative intensity and deeply
felt commitment. Her lovely tone caressed the piece's songful
outbursts. A worthy revival!
As an encore, Van Eck,
Klotz, and Dacic offered Fritz Kreisler's Little Vienesse March
- played with schmaltzy brio and insouciant flair.
The intimacy of the Leiser
Center's ballroom is perfect for chamber music. Here musicians
communicate the sheer pleasure of music making with a directness
and intimacy that is lacking in more formal concert halls. The
Chameleon series is a real gem.