The Forever Red Project
(Forever Red Project Website)
Cello Recital (Miraculous Life)
Clara Tsang, Cello
Jean Schneider, Piano
Weill Recital Hall
(Carnegie Hall Website)
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 18, 2014
Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873 - 1943): Vocalise, Op. 34, No. 14 (1912)
Rachmaninoff: Cello Sonata in G minor, Op. 19 (1901)
César Franck (1822 - 1890): Cello Sonata in A major (1886, originally for violin and piano)
The Forever Red Project is led by cellist, Clara Tsang, as it draws musicians into a mutual collaboration, toward fusion of musical styles. Tonight Clara Tsang and pianist, Jean Schneider, performed three works at Weill Hall to a packed crowd. Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise has always been a favorite of mine, and it was delightful to hear the piano-cello arrangement presented tonight. Ms. Tsang is a lovely, youthful artist, who arrived in gold heels and a blue, silky gown. The expansive phrases of the plaintive melody were expressed by both Ms. Tsang and Ms. Schneider, highlighting and holding heartrending, romantic notes. The Vocalise was the last of fourteen songs, written by Rachmaninoff in 1912, for soprano and piano. Tonight’s cello-piano arrangement was evocative of its sensual origins, having been composed for soprano and piano. Antonina Nezhdanova, for whom the song was written, also sang the first soprano-orchestra arrangement, with Rachmaninoff conducting. Ms. Tsang drew out liquid string tones with deep emotionality.
The Rachmaninoff Cello Sonata in G minor, written in 1901 and published in 1902, was actually called Sonata in G minor for Cello and Piano, because the piano is highlighted in the lead in this work, often introducing a theme that the cello later transforms. In fact, Ms. Schneider is a stunning, talented musician, who has appeared in recitals across the US and Europe. She is also a Fulbright scholar, who studied in Salzburg. In the first, “Lento - Allegro moderato” movement, tempestuous musical passages are followed by mellow, string quietude, then crashing piano chords. The second, “Allegro scherzando” movement was filled with swirling dervish on piano and pizzicato violin, repeating and echoing piano and cello themes in unique incarnations. Keyboard waterfalls were followed by eloquent string momentum. The third, “Andante” movement was melancholy and atonal, while the fourth, “Allegro mosso” movement included a vibrant cello melody, accompanied by propulsive piano trills.
The César Franck Cello Sonata in A major was transcribed for the cello from the original violin – piano composition. This is a windswept work, filled with drama. The first, “Allegretto ben moderato” movement is melancholy, often quiet, with thematic introductions by both piano and cello. It picks up a speedy tempo as it evolves. The second, “Allegro” movement is stormy and thundering, with cello and piano racing with its gorgeous, oft-atonal phrasing. The third, “Ben moderato: Recitative-Fantasia” movement echoes the earlier theme with reconfiguring fascination and impassioned warmth. The fourth, “Allegretto poco mosso” movement was the most majestic, with each instrument imitating and expanding on earlier, searing and stormy themes. Both Ms. Tsang and Ms. Schneider deserve kudos for this remarkable recital.
Courtesy of Lui Ming Fai
Courtesy of Forever Red Project Program