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A high-quality weekend for concertos on the Aspen Music Competition – Seen and Heard Worldwide

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United StatesUnited States Aspen Music Competition 2024 [2]: Aspen, Colorado. (HS)

A tribute to Peter Schickele: Victoria Chiang and James Dunham play P.D.Q. Bach’s Sonata for Viola 4 Arms © Diego Redel

It was a terrific weekend for Shostakovich and Prokofiev concertos on the Aspen Music ComPetition, with a high-quality smattering of different concerto-like items to enliven the proceedings.

Augustin Hadelich by no means appears to disappoint. The marquee soloist performed the Prokofiev Violin Concerto No.2 with the ComPetition Orchestra on Sunday. Additionally on the prime of his sport was pianist Inon Barnatan on Friday evening with the Chamber Symphony in Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No.1.

Within the Friday live performance, performed by Nicholas McGegan, the husband-wife group of Michael Rusinek (clarinet) and Nancy Goeres (bassoon), each principals within the Chamber Symphony, teamed up for an enthralling efficiency of Richard Strauss’s Duet-Concertino.

Saturday afternoon in Harris Corridor, Hadelich and Barnatan mixed forces for a rousing efficiency of Chausson’s long-limbed, high-Romantic Live performance. A quasi-concerto for the compact forces of solo violin, piano and string quartet, its large finale at all times will get audiences leaping out of their seats.

That includes longtime regulars is a key aspect of programming all summer time to have a good time the competition’s seventy fifth 12 months. That would come with Hadelich, who has been coming to Aspen yearly since 2011. Sunday within the music tent, the violinist spun out the beautiful, candy, unaccompanied G minor melody that opens the Prokofiev concerto, the simplicity of it will definitely enjoying deftly towards the orchestra’s rhythms.

Augustin Hadelich will get applause from conductor Dima Slobodeniouk after the Prokofiev © Diego Redel

Conductor Dima Slobodeniouk, making his Aspen debut, related seamlessly with Hadelich. Certainly one of a phalanx of spectacular conductors popping out of Finland, he stored the 25-minute piece transferring briskly with out pushing the subtly shifting meters and moods – right here militaristic, there bouncy – with Hadelich executing difficult double-stops, pungent harmonic clashes and high-lying melodic strains with ease. As an encore, Hadelich’s personal association of ‘Orange Blossom Particular’ received the prepare transferring at a jaw-dropping tempo, its violin acrobatics typically overshadowing the bluegrass really feel.

The Sunday program began with Chinese language-American composer Wang Lu’s ‘Surge’, a six-minute tone poem of relentless crescendos and hard dissonances. In distinction, the hour-long Rachmaninoff Symphony No.2 concluded this system with lavish servings of the composer’s plush, densely packed, overtly expressive writing. Whilst Slobodeniouk pulled it along with precision, the music stored spilling over anyway.

Friday within the music tent, Barnatan jumped into Shostakovich’s vigorous, typically puckish music with gusto, leavening the efficiency with sleek lyrical stretches. After the ominous opening phrases, he and McGegan relished the ensuing contrasts. Barnatan gave the exuberant outer actions a virtuosic contact, and the sluggish motion’s sly takeoff on a classic waltz had simply the fitting mixture of candy and bitter. Principal trumpet Stuart Stephenson delivered Shostakovich’s sardonic interjections within the piano concerto with panache.

Within the Strauss Duet-Concertino, Rusinek’s clarinet curlicued across the orchestra’s lengthy legato strains, and Goeres’s deliberately galumphing bassoon responses by no means misplaced the underlying sweetness. When the devices lastly reached comparable music to play collectively within the finale, every thing fell into place properly.

The 2 Haydn symphonies on this system lie in McGegan’s wheelhouse. The early Symphony No.31 (‘Hornsignal’) didn’t at all times get the crisp French horn enjoying that’s at its coronary heart, however the extra acquainted Symphony No.100 (‘Army’) caught the light-footed class that balances the composer’s wry humor.

Main as much as the massive Chausson piece on Saturday afternoon, a robust lineup of chamber music produced some jewels. An expanded Aspen Modern Ensemble, with high-level solo violin work from Laura Gamboa, danced easily by ‘Concerto Grosso’, a 10-minute ear-beguiler that composer Jesse Montgomery debuted in 2023. Then violinists Bing Wang, Cornelia Heard, Naoko Tanaka and Renata Arado with pianist Anton Nel – Aspen regulars all – delivered appeal in Baroque composer Leonardo Leo’s by-the-book, pint-size Concerto for 4 Violins.

The charmer of the day was Debussy’s Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp, ripe with the composer’s penchant for pungent but horny harmonies. The Dallas Symphony’s harpist, Emily Levin, was flanked by violist Victoria Chiang (additionally an Aspen school stalwart) and flutist Alexander ‘Sasha’ Ishov, who holds a fellowship with the competition.

Lastly, the demise earlier this 12 months of Peter Schickele, a grasp of classical music satire, prompted a night to honor his historical past with Aspen the place he studied composition with Darius Milhaud within the Nineteen Sixties. He additionally gave among the earliest performances of his humorous work right here earlier than it took off later within the decade.

Nodding to Schickele’s alter-ego P.D.Q. Bach, this system included the droll Toot Suite, written for calliope however performed on an digital keyboard by competition music director Robert Spano and CEO Alan Fletcher (who additionally deployed some sudden deadpan humor because the night’s emcee). At one level in P.D.Q,’s sonata for viola and 4 arms, Chiang dealt with the fingering as James Dunham bowed with a hacksaw (its ‘blade’ manufactured from bowstrings).

The spotlight, although, was a full-orchestra efficiency of Schickele’s Unbegun Symphony, a fantasy of acquainted classical melodies and snippets spinning off into sudden different tunes.

Harvey Steiman

5.7.2024, Haydn, Shostakovich, R. Strauss: Inon Barnatan (piano), Stuart Stephenson (trumpet), Michael Rusinek (clarinet), Nancy Goeres (bassoon), Aspen Chamber Orchestra / Andrew McGegan (conductor). Klein Music Tent

Haydn – Symphony No.31 in D main, ‘Hornsignal’; Symphony No.100 in G main, ‘Army’
Shostakovich – Piano Concerto No.1 in C minor
R. StraussDuet-Concertino

6.7.2024, Chamber Music: Harris Corridor

Jessie Montgomery – ‘Concerto Grosso’ [Aspen Contemporary Ensemble]

Leo – Concerto for 4 Violins and Continuo [Bing Wang, Cornelia Heard, Naoko Tanaka, Renata Arado (violins), Anton Nel (piano)]
Debussy – Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp [Alexander ‘Sasha’ Ishov (flute), Victoria Chiang (viola), Emily Levin (harp)]
ChaussonLive performance [Augustin Hadelich (solo violin), Inon Barnatan (piano), Yvette Kraft, Eunice Lee (violins), Hope Hyink (viola), William Suh (cello)]

6.7.2024, An Night of P.D.Q. Bach: Harris Corridor

P.D.Q. BachToot Suite for Calliope 4 Arms, S.212 [Alan Fletcher (piano), Robert Spano (piano); Sonata for Viola Four Hands and Harpsichord, S.440 [Victoria Chiang, James Dunham (viola), Anton Nel (harpsichord)]; Echo Sonata for Two Unfriendly Teams of Devices, S.9999999…. [Nadine Asin (flute), Elaine Douvas (oboe), Andrew Brady (bassoon), Abel Pereira (horn), Billy Hunter (trumpet), James Miller (trombone)]; Goldbrick Variations, S.14 [Anton Nel (piano)]; ‘Donna, Donna, Take heed to My Plea,’ from The Abduction of Figaro, S.384, 492 [Sarah Fleiss (soprano), Sunghoon Han (bass), Anna Gershtein (piano)]
Peter Schickele – ‘Unbegun’ Symphony [Aspen Festival Ensemble / Piotr Wacławik (conductor)]

7.7.2024, Wang Lu, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff: Augustin Hadelich (violin), Aspen Competition Orchestra / Dima Slobodeniouk (conductor). Klein Music Tent

Wang Lu – ‘Surge’
Prokofiev – Violin Concerto No.2 in G minor
Rachmaninoff – Symphony No.2 in E minor

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