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Concertante Performs Works by Gideon Klein, Franz Liszt, and Gabriel Fauré at Merkin Concert Hall
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Concertante Performs Works by Gideon Klein, Franz Liszt, and Gabriel Fauré at Merkin Concert Hall

- Classical and Cultural Connections


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Concertante
www.concertante.org

Xiao-Dong Wang on Violin
Rachel Shapiro on Viola
Zvi Plesser on Cello
Gilles Vonsattel on Piano

At Merkin Concert Hall
(Merkin Hall Website)
Press: Hemsing Associates, PR for the Arts

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
November 21, 2011


Program:

String Trio (1944): Composed by Gideon Klein (1919-1945), Xiao-Dong Wang on violin, Rachel Shapiro on viola, Zvi Plesser on cello.

Tristia – La Vallée d’Obermann, S. 723, from Années de Pélerinage (1880): Composed by Franz Liszt (1811-1886), Xiao-Dong Wang on violin, Zvi Plesser on cello, Gilles Vonsattel on piano.

Piano Quartet in G minor (1885-86): Composed by Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924), “Allegro molto moderato”, “Allegro molto”, “Adagio non troppo”, “Allegro molto”, Xiao-Dong Wang on violin, Rachel Shapiro on viola, Zvi Plesser on cello, Gilles Vonsattel on piano.


What a delight to meet such a talented and scintillating quartet, called Concertante. Xiao-Dong Wang on violin, Rachel Shapiro on viola, Zvi Plesser on cello, and Gilles Vonsattel on piano are precise, impassioned performers, with an obvious mastery of the genre and an intense focus on the spirit of each piece. The three works tonight would be challenging for any chamber ensemble, and this youthful group made each work animated and affecting.

The Klein String Trio, presented by Mr. Wang, Ms. Shapiro, and Mr. Plesser, was composed in 1944, toward the end of World War II, while Klein was imprisoned in a concentration camp, before being transferred to Auschwitz, and then a labor camp, where he died in 1945. The three movements were gripping and poignant. The atonal first was deeply earthy, but surprisingly not mournful or filled with angst. Mr. Wang led the theme, while Ms. Shapiro and Mr. Plesser added harmonies and texture. The second movement was sad, with a compelling cello solo. Pizzicato followed, then beautiful string tones in combination. The finale was evocative of Prokofiev, with emotionality.

The Liszt Tristia opened with foreboding chords. Mr. Vonsattel joined on piano, while Ms. Shapiro sat this piece out. Mr. Plesser’s cello added volume and bucolic imagery, followed by stormy passages, then quiet pauses. Romantic refrains filled this piece with surreal sensitivity. This was a fitting tribute to Liszt on his 200th birthday anniversary.

For the Fauré Piano Quartet in G minor, the entire ensemble joined together for a work I’d love to hear again. Mr. Vonsattel repeated on piano the string theme, followed by Ms. Shapiro’s stunning viola solo. The piano waterfalls were reminiscent of film noir. The second movement featured the keyboard again with pure energy, in brief but dynamic virtuosity. The third movement featured Ms. Shapiro again, with a mournful, but melodic viola-piano conversation. Mr. Wang’s violin took the piano conversation with higher, searing tones, before the ensemble re-joined with sweeping expansiveness. The fourth and final movement returned to cascading piano passages and whirling strings. Concertante will return to Merkin Hall on February 6, 2012.



Rachel Shapiro, Exec. Director
and Violist, Concertante
Courtesy of Concertante



Zvi Plesser, Cellist, Concertante
Courtesy of Concertante



Xiao-Dong Wang, Violinist, Concertante
Courtesy of Concertante



For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net