New York Philharmonic Ensembles
Pascual Martinez Forteza on Clarinet
Judith Nelson on Viola
Gema Nieto-Forteza on Piano
Charles Rex on Violin
Vivek Kamath on Viola
Eileen Moon on Cello
June Choi Oh on Piano
Thomas V. Smith on Trumpet
Howard Wall on Horn
James Markey on Bass Trombone
Kuan Cheng Lu on Violin
Sumire Kudo on Cello
At Merkin Concert Hall
(Merkin Hall Website)
Press: Hemsing Associates, PR for the Arts
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
January 15, 2012
Trio in E-flat major for Clarinet, Viola, and Piano, K.498 (1786): Composed by Mozart (1756 - 91), Pascual Martinez Forteza on clarinet, Judith Nelson on viola, Gema Nieto-Forteza on piano.
Piano Quartet in C major, Op. 23, (1890): Composed by Foote (1853 – 1937): Charles Rex on violin, Vivek Kamath on viola, Eileen Moon on cello, June Choi Oh on piano.
Trio for Trumpet, Horn, and Bass Trombone (1996): Composed by Daniel Schnyder (b. 1961), Thomas V. Smith on trumpet, Howard Wall on horn, James Markey on bass trombone.
Sonata for Violin and Cello (1920 - 22): Composed by Ravel (1875 - 1937), Kuan Cheng Lu on violin, Sumire Kudo on cello.
The New York Philharmonic has created a fine opportunity for current and future audiences to have a close-up view of the orchestra’s seasoned musicians. Today’s Sunday afternoon concert brought out a dozen of the Philharmonic’s finest, and those in attendance, many of whom might be aspiring to join orchestras around the globe, were visibly enthralled. The Mozart Trio in E-flat major for Clarinet, Viola, and Piano was imbued with a lovely melody, perfect for a cold January day. Gema Nieto-Forteza played the Andante piano theme with elegance. Judith Nelson, on viola, and Pascual Martinez-Forteza, on viola, echoed the first bars of the theme, then played them again in fragmented form, adding four fast notes. The clarinet plaintively accompanied the piano, as isolated notes merged into a waterfall. The violin added charged phrases. I heard a swirling minuet rhythm, with the clarinet presenting poetic tonal imagery. There was an emphasis on tempo, while maintaining a harmonious, seamless flow.
The Foote Piano Quartet in C major was a pleasant surprise with its dramatic, filmatic piano theme. June Choi Oh was on piano, joined by Charles Rex on violin, Vivek Kamath on viola, and Eileen Moon on cello. The original theme was introduced on cello, expanding in segments, before the piano added strength and poignancy. Sharp contrasting strings in the Adagio drove the momentum, followed by pulsating piano crescendos. Yearning melancholia was created by the trio of strings, as it wound its sound through the piano’s emotionality. Toward the finale, a rapid, urgent violin made me wonder how such freshness of sound could have been composed in 1890. The repetitive theme varied its tones with high volume, and I began to envision a new ballet score.
The Schnyder Trio for Trumpet, Horn, and Bass Trombone includes five sequential movements, no pause. Thomas V. Smith, on trumpet, created muted contemporary tones. Soon he switched to flugelhorn, and the melody was evocative of Bernstein’s Fancy Free and West Side Story, but without strong rhythms. Yet, more jazziness followed from James Markey’s bass trombone. Howard Wall, on horn, filled out the trio, and at one point three instruments played the same notes in unison. The piece was interesting, although not transporting. Ravel’s Sonata for Violin and Cello was sharp, atonal, and drawn out. This Sonata served as a central theme in the 1992 film, “Un Coeur in Hiver”. This is a poignant, searing piece, one worth hearing multiple times. It ends in a whisper. Kuan Cheng Lu was on violin, and Sumire Kudo was on cello.
Kudos to all.