Music Review: Fine concert reflects Marlboro heritage
By Jim Lowe
Staff Writer | December 12,2012
BRATTLEBORO — Vermont was reminded of its good fortune as home of the Marlboro Music Festival with a concert Sunday at Centre Congregational Church.
Violinist Jaime Laredo and cellist Sharon Robinson, Vermont residents first attracted by Marlboro, and violist Steven Tenenbom and pianist Benjamin Hochman, both alumni of Vermont’s famed festival, performed a truly fine concert of music by Beethoven, Fauré and Stravinsky.
On Monday, Robinson received the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts from Gov. Peter Shumlin at a ceremony at the Latchis Theatre.
And the musicians were donating their services to the Brattleboro Music Center, of which Laredo and Robinson are artistic advisors.
The major work was Gabriel Fauré’s Piano Quartet in c minor, Opus 15, one of the great works of late French Romanticism. There aren’t more able performers around and they delivered the power, beauty and grandeur of the work, playing with clarity, passion and even tenderness.
The opening Allegro molto moderato was full of passion contrasted by gentleness; the Scherzo (allegro vivo) was light and lively; the Adagio was a beautiful mix of tenderness and grandeur; and the final Allegro molto combined grand power and excitement. More important, the high level of ensemble delivered the rich sensuality in an exciting performance.
Hochman, in particular, played with a clarity, knowing musicality and quiet virtuosity that was the backbone of the performance.
Still, it was Laredo who delivered the most beautiful performance of the program, Igor Stravinsky’s gorgeous take on the Italian Baroque, “Suite Italienne.” With Hochman’s able assistance, Laredo employed his silky sound, plying the lines with sensitivity, nuance and spirit. It was a reminder that Vermont is home to one of the world’s foremost violinists.
Robinson and Hochman joined forces comfortably in Ludwig van Beethoven’s Sonata in A Major for Cello and Piano, Opus 69, perhaps the composer’s richest. Robinson is one of the most expressive cellists around and Hochman matched her all the way in a rich and passionate performance. Although it might have had more musical power with fewer rhythmic liberties, it was certainly beautiful.
Vermont has a lot to thank Marlboro for.
Brattleboro Music Center
The Brattleboro Music Center Chamber Music Series will present the Rubens Quartet with violist Dimitri Murrath and cellist Judith Serkin in music of Beethoven and Brahms at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18, at Centre Congregational Church in Brattleboro. Tickets are $30-$10; call 257-4523, or go online to www.bmcvt.org.