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, September 20, 2019


Emilie-Anne Gendron, Melody Fader, and Michael Haas

We are scarcely an expert in chamber music and rarely step outside of our operatic comfort zone. But last night's private recital sounded too good to miss and it surpassed our high expectations. In a uniquely artistic Soho loft we got to hear world renowned soloist, chamber musician, accompanist, and recording artist Melody Fader playing a 130 year old Steinway concert grand piano.

We have never been a fan of Bach but there was something about Ms. Fader's fingers and heart that woke us up to Bach's genius. The piece we heard, his Toccata and Fugue in C minor, was filled with intricacies, each one of which was brought out in a way to which we could relate.

To us it seemed fiendishly difficult in technique, but it was the expressive phrasing and dynamics that took us by surprise . There was a spirited section filled with fireworks that reminded us of an operatic cabaletta. What unique sensibility!

Chopin's Preludes are among our favorite pieces for piano. We have even learned to play some of the easiest ones ourself, but hearing them played by a master of the keyboard was a "whole 'nother thing". Chopin has always been dear to our heart and his varying moods are perfectly suited to our Romantic sensibility.  It might have been the fourth that was so profoundly sorrowful and the sixth which had such aspirational ascending arpeggi alternating with defeated descending scale passages. (Please don't hold us to account on the numbering; we were lost in the listening.) The seventh (?) seemed to be a Polish dance form that we would be hard put to name. We loved them all.

After the seven Preludes on the program we heard Chopin's "Aeolian Harp".

The final work on the program was Beethoven's Archduke Trio for which Ms. Fader was joined by violinist Emily Gendron and cellist Michael Haas. May we say that Ms. Fader "plays well with others"? 

The first movement was in Sonata-Allegro form and we will be happy to argue with anyone who says that Beethoven was not a melodist. We heard a marvelously melodic statement carried by the violin  that seemed increasingly marvelous in the restatement and even more so in the recapitulation. The second theme is a frisky one that was initiated by the piano and picked up by the cello. Both string parts made good use of pizzicato technique.

The second movement was a playful Scherzo to which we swayed in our seat. We were sure it was our favorite time signature--6/8--but Ms. Fader assured us that it was in 3/4 time, played fast! In any event, it was filled with invention.

There was a pensive Theme and Variations in which an odd minor note in place of the expected major reminded us a bit of Mozart. The final Allegro Moderato was a lively one with plenty of syncopation that had us ready to get up and dance.

It was a fulfilling program altogether with all three musicians winning our attention and affection. Ms. Fader's mother surely was gifted with precognition when she named her daughter Melody!

(c) meche kroop

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