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.

Friday, March 9, 2018


I-Yun Tsai, Wenting Yu, Wen Guan Li, Zhihong Li, Jingci Liu, Pavlina Dokovska, and Ganson Salmon

Only in New York can one hear a highly professional concert and find out that the artists are students. The quality of the performances were uniformly splendid in last night's recital at the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Last month we reviewed the graduation recital of tenor Ganson Salmon, the highlight of which was his performance of Robert Schumann's Dichterliebe, composed during the period when Robert's longing for Clara was at its peak. Last night's repeat performance was in honor of Clara, who was not only her husband's muse, but, as related by Pavlina Dokovska, created her own musical career after rebelling against her strict family and the extant cultural norms.

For details about Mr. Salmon's artistry with this song cycle, we refer readers to our recent review, http://www.vocedimeche.reviews/search?q=ganson+salmon. We will only say that Mr. Salmon, Heinrich Heine, and Robert Schumann seem even more united than before as Mr. Salmon has settled into the work; he held us spellbound with his mastery. The connection between him and his superb collaborative pianist Brianna Han has intensified.

The program included selections from Kurze Waltzer for four hands by Wolfgang Rihm. The thrill of hearing contemporary music that we actually enjoyed was quite overwhelming. The music is charming, accessible, listenable, and even danceable. 

The four fortunate hands that brought us such joy belonged to Wenting Yu and the very beautiful Jingci Liu who were totally in tune with one another.

There was sufficient differences among the brief waltzes that our attention was held throughout. There was great variety of melodic intent, mood, tempi and dynamics.  Now if we could only get Mr. Rihm to write an opera! He has written dozens of lieder and we mean to track them down.

The final work on the program was Johannes Brahms' rousing Piano Quartet in C minor, op.60. It opened with a muscular Allegro non troppo which was followed by the Scherzo in a somewhat unusual position. The third movement, Andante, opened with a lyrical theme in the cello, played by Zhihong Li, making it our favorite part.  The Finale featured the violin of I-Yun Tsai and the piano of Wenting Yu. And we all know that the viola fills in all the gaps. Wen Guan Li played it well.

Mannes can be very proud of their students, all on their way to superstardom.

(c) meche kroop

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