The Kennedy Center Chamber Players is an ad hoc ensemble made up of principal players from the National Symphony Orchestra. Each season, this excellent chamber music group presents a few concerts of well-chosen music in the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. Although they have not been under review at Ionarts in more than a year, that shameful fact is due only to scheduling difficulties on our side, not at all to the nature of their performances. This new release, the group's first on the Dorian label, captures the qualities of their typical concert, with a set of lesser-heard, especially modern pieces centered around a theme, in this case, that of the duo. It would make a lovely memento of some of the best chamber music-making in the area.
The Beauty of Two (duos by Grieg, Hindemith, Poulenc, Martinů), Kennedy Center Chamber Players
(released April 8, 2008)
KCCP in Concert:
October 28, 2006 | June 6, 2006 | February 9, 2006 | November 17, 2005 | September 24, 2005
The excellent cellist David Hardy is featured in two pieces, the substantial Grieg sonata in A minor (op. 36) and the jazzy third sonata by Martinů, an Ionarts favorite composer. Violist Daniel Foster gives a beautiful rendition of the Hindemith viola sonata (op. 11, no. 4), a work that is one of the most easily lovable of that composer's exhaustive sonata collection. The easy-to-down Poulenc sonata, played earlier this year by James Galway, is heard here from the flute of Toshiko Kohno. Anchoring the set is the accompanying piano of Lambert Orkis on all four works, the playing of a consummate collaborative musician and the veteran of many partnerships, most famously those with Anne-Sophie Mutter and the late Mstislav Rostropovich. Most of the program was captured in clear, warm sound in the lovely and intimate space of Lorin Maazel's Theater House at Castleton Farms, Virginia, back in 2004. The disc is dedicated to the memory of Rostropovich, recently memorialized in an excellent radio program on WETA, for his support of the chamber music initiatives of his NSO players.