We are here to encourage the development of gifted young singers and to stimulate the growth of New York City's invaluable chamber opera companies. But we will not neglect the Metropolitan Opera either. Get ready for bouquets and brickbats.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


Elad Kabilio, Grace Ho, Larisa Martinez, Oded Hadar, and Caleb van der Swaagh   

We escaped from the crowds and chaos of Cyber Monday to spend a pleasant hour with some marvelous musicians.  We learned.  We listened.  We relaxed.  We arrived stressed out and we left feeling soothed. We felt entertained as well as educated.

MUSIC TALKS has a mission: to bring music to an intimate and informal setting, to break down the barriers between musicians and audience, to expose audiences to chamber music in small doses. The experience would be a perfect one to introduce someone to the joys of classical music; it does not, however, insult the intelligence of those of us who already love music.

For example, as lovers of 19th c. vocal music and opera, there is a great deal about instrumental music we don't know and a great deal of pre-Classical music that we haven't appreciated. Without delivering an entire dissertation, cellist Elad Kabilio introduced the audience to J.S. Bach's Die Kunst der Fuge, composed toward the end of Bach's life.

We never really understood what a fugue was but Mr. Kabilio easily explained how it differs from a canon and proceeded to illustrate--the subject was played by one cello, the slight variation played by a second one (the variation for harmonic purposes), and the original subject entering the scene played by a third cello.

Apparently Bach worked out this puzzle meticulously without ever indicating for which instruments  it was intended.  To our ears, it sounded just right with four cellos!  Mathematics became music and pleased our ears as the strands were woven together into an harmonious whole.

Even more enjoyable was Bach's Aria from Pastorale in F Major which was surprisingly lyrical.

The tangos of Spanish composer Isaac Albeniz (turn of the 20th c.) and Argentinean composer Astor Piazzolla (mid-20th c.), whose works we have only heard on the bandoneon, were performed as well, arranged for four cellos. In "Mocosita" there was plenty of legato bowing and staccato plucking. We felt like getting up to dance.

But the highlight of the concert was a second hearing of the"Aria" and "Dansa" from Heitor Villa Lobos' Bachianas Brasileras No. 5 sung by soprano Larisa Martinez and arranged for four cellos by Mr. Kabilio. (Villa Lobos wrote this tribute to Bach for 8 cellos.) The program was called Bach in Brazil and it was interesting to hear the echoes of Bach in Villa Lobos' composition.

We had so greatly enjoyed Ms. Martinez' performance of this work two weeks ago that we were most eager for her repeat performance. We are partial to the Cantilena sung on the open vowel "ah". No words were needed to convey the depth of feeling.

For the month of December we have decided to highlight the possibilities of supporting every small company we write about so that our readers can find something better to do with their Xmas funds than buying someone an ugly sweater.  Better to give the money to a worthwhile enterprise and make your loved ones happy with a hug!  So here is the URL...www.Music-Talks.com. Please give!

(c) meche kroop

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