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28.2.11

Paolo Pandolfo Returns

Style masthead

Read my review published today in the Style section of the Washington Post:

Charles T. Downey, Paolo Pandolfo and Thomas Boysen
Washington Post, February 28, 2011

available at Amazon
Marais, Le Labyrinthe et autres histoires, P. Pandolfo, T. Boysen


available at Amazon
Sainte-Colombe, Pièces de Viole, P. Pandolfo, T. Boysen
The collections of the Library of Congress preserve not only important archival documents but also precious musical instruments. On Saturday afternoon, the superlative viola da gamba player Paolo Pandolfo performed a concert in the library's Coolidge Auditorium that featured one of those instruments. Rather than historical preservation, a term that implies the embalming work of the museum conservator, this program aimed to revive the extemporaneous art frozen on the pages composed for this largely forgotten instrument.

Like Pandolfo's concert at Dumbarton Oaks in 2006, the focus was on the two most important viola da gamba virtuoso composers: Marin Marais and his pioneering teacher, Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe. Pandolfo and Thomas Boysen, on theorbo (or archlute) and baroque guitar, approached each piece with improvisatorial freedom. Marais's "Musette" rocked back and forth over two repeated chords, with the drone of the viol's low strings evoking the eponymous medieval bagpipe. Dramatic pauses inserted in the dance "La Georgienne, dite La Maupertuis" cut up the phrases into angry gestures. [Continue reading]
Paolo Pandolfo (viola da gamba) and Thomas Boysen (theorbo)
La viole luthée
Library of Congress

PREVIOUSLY:
Paolo Pandolfo's Forqueray (July 31, 2007)
Paolo Pandolfo and the Bach Cello Suites (June 1, 2006)
Paolo Pandolfo at Dumbarton Oaks (January 23, 2006)

27.2.11

Keeping Score at the Oscars

Many of you have taken our reader poll on the Academy Awards: as you watch the Oscar broadcast this evening (or not), here are the nominations and the results, with links to our reviews of the major contenders. The winner of the reader poll is listed in bold, and our pick is marked with our eye image.

Best Achievement in Art Direction
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1: Stuart Craig, Stephenie McMillan
  • Inception: Guy Hendrix Dyas, Larry Dias, Douglas A. Mowat
  • The King's Speech: Eve Stewart, Judy Farr
  • True Grit: Jess Gonchor, Nancy Haigh
  • Alice in Wonderland: Robert Stromberg, Karen O'Hara Small eye (OSCAR)
Best Achievement in Cinematography
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (the first big surprise of the evening!)
Best Short Film, Animated
  • Day & Night: Teddy Newton
  • The Gruffalo: Jakob Schuh, Max Lang
  • Let's Pollute: Geefwee Boedoe
  • The Lost Thing: Shaun Tan, Andrew Ruhemann (OSCAR)
  • Madagascar, a Journey Diary: Bastien Dubois
Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
  • The Illusionist: Sylvain Chomet
  • How to Train Your Dragon: Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders
  • Toy Story 3: Lee Unkrich Small eye (OSCAR)
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
Best Foreign Language Film of the Year (another surprise!)
  • Dogtooth: Giorgos Lanthimos (Greece)
  • In a Better World: Susanne Bier (Denmark) (OSCAR)
  • Incendies: Denis Villeneuve (Canada)
  • Outside the Law: Rachid Bouchareb (Algeria)
  • Biutiful: Alejandro González Iñárritu (Mexico) Small eye
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (big surprise!)
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
  • The King's Speech: Paul Hamblin, Martin Jensen, John Midgley
  • Salt: Jeffrey J. Haboush, William Sarokin, Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell
  • The Social Network: Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick, Mark Weingarten
  • True Grit: Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff, Peter F. Kurland
  • Inception: Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo, Ed Novick Small eye (OSCAR)
Best Achievement in Sound Editing
  • Toy Story 3 (2010): Tom Myers, Michael Silvers
  • TRON: Legacy (2010): Gwendolyn Yates Whittle, Addison Teague
  • True Grit (2010): Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey
  • Unstoppable (2010): Mark P. Stoeckinger
  • Inception: Richard King Small eye (OSCAR)
Best Achievement in Makeup
  • Barney's Version: Adrien Morot
  • The Way Back: Edouard F. Henriques, Greg Funk, Yolanda Toussieng
  • The Wolfman: Rick Baker, Dave Elsey (OSCAR)
Best Achievement in Costume Design
  • Alice in Wonderland: Colleen Atwood (OSCAR)
  • I Am Love: Antonella Cannarozzi
  • The King's Speech: Jenny Beavan
  • True Grit: Mary Zophres
  • The Tempest: Sandy Powell
Best Documentary, Short Subjects
  • Killing in the Name: Jed Rothstein
  • Poster Girl: Sara Nesson, Mitchell Block
  • Strangers No More: Karen Goodman, Kirk Simon (OSCAR)
  • Sun Come Up: Jennifer Redfearn, Tim Metzger
  • The Warriors of Qiugang: Ruby Yang, Thomas Lennon
Best Short Film, Live Action
  • The Confession: Tanel Toom
  • The Crush: Michael Creagh
  • God of Love: Luke Matheny (OSCAR)
  • Na Wewe: Ivan Goldschmidt
  • Wish 143: Ian Barnes, Samantha Waite
Best Documentary, Features
  • Exit Through the Gift Shop: Banksy, Jaimie D'Cruz
  • GasLand: Josh Fox, Trish Adlesic
  • Inside Job: Charles Ferguson, Audrey Marrs (OSCAR)
  • Restrepo: Tim Hetherington, Sebastian Junger
  • Waste Land: Lucy Walker, Angus Aynsley
Best Achievement in Visual Effects
  • Alice in Wonderland: Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Carey Villegas, Sean Phillips
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1: Tim Burke, John Richardson, Christian Manz, Nicolas Aithadi
  • Hereafter: Michael Owens, Bryan Grill, Stephan Trojansky, Joe Farrell
  • Iron Man 2: Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright, Daniel Sudick
  • Inception: Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley, Pete Bebb, Paul J. Franklin Small eye (OSCAR)
Best Achievement in Editing
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
  • Country Strong: Tom Douglas, Hillary Lindsey, Troy Verges ("Coming Home")
  • Tangled: Alan Menken, Glenn Slater ("I See the Light")
  • Toy Story 3: Randy Newman ("We Belong Together") (OSCAR -- this only makes me think more of this episode of Family Guy)
  • 127 Hours: A.R. Rahman, Dido ("If I Rise") Small eye
Best Achievement in Directing
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

26.2.11

For Your Consideration: 'The Town' and 'Rabbit Hole'

After Gone Baby Gone, Ben Affleck has written and directed another Boston crime film, this time with himself in the lead role instead of his younger brother. The Town is set in the rough-and-tumble Boston neighborhood of Charlestown, an adaptation of Chuck Hogan's novel Prince of Thieves by Affleck (with Peter Craig and Aaron Stockard). Doug MacRay, played by Affleck, is the head of a hard-nosed bank robbery gang, with enough smarts to stay one step ahead of the law. On their most recent heist, they take a bank manager (Rebecca Hall, of Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Frost/Nixon) hostage to ensure their escape: while trying to determine if she has spoken with the FBI (she has), MacRay falls in love with her. It is almost beside the point to say that this plot twist is so improbable that it belongs in a soap opera.

It's a perfectly watchable film, not least for fine supporting work from Jon Hamm (Mad Men), who plays the FBI special agent trying to hunt down MacRay and his crew, and Chris Cooper as MacRay's father, serving a life sentence in prison. There are car chases, funny robber masks, lots of guns, and ingenious plots, all the things that make for an entertaining caper film. Jeremy Renner even managed to pick up a Best Supporting Actor nomination for the Academy Awards for his role as James Coughlin, MacRay's best friend and partner in crime. Renner is a talented actor, known especially for much better work in The Hurt Locker last year, for which he also received a Best Actor nomination. It's possible that this nomination was intended as a sort of consolation prize, but the recognition for this role seems misplaced.


Other Reviews:

Roger Ebert | Anthony Lane | New York Times | Washington Post | Los Angeles Times
Wall Street Journal | Village Voice | TIME | Movie Review Intelligence

One of the glaring omissions in this year's Academy Award nominations was Rabbit Hole, the latest film from John Cameron Mitchell, with a screenplay by David Lindsay-Abaire (another Boston connection), based on his own Pulitzer Prize-winning play. Nicole Kidman did receive a nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role (Kidman's company bought the movie rights to the play, and she is also credited as producer), for her portrayal of Becca, a woman who is struggling to bear the worst loss imaginable: her young son ran into the street in front of their house, chasing his dog, and was struck by a car. Kidman's performance is the strongest of the nominees for the award (with Michelle Williams in Blue Valentine also in the running), but the media attention paid to Black Swan is likely to swing the voting to Natalie Portman (that Kidman has already won the award, for The Hours, is another contributing factor). No less moving is Aaron Eckhart as Becca's husband, Howie, who helplessly watches his wife retreat into a Stepford Wife-like coldness and is tempted by a kindred spirit (Sandra Oh) at their support group. Finally, there is the screenplay, which plays its cards so subtly and with so few cliches that it would be a shame to spoil any of its details. The film certainly deserved one of the ten nominations for Best Film more than Black Swan, Inception, Toy Story 3, or 127 Hours.

Who could have expected such a film from the maker of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, that unclassifiable movie about a transsexual punk rocker, which John Cameron Mitchell both starred in and directed? In only other film since, the navel-gazing Shortbus in 2006, Mitchell went in a somewhat similar direction, but in Rabbit Hole there is only an undercurrent of the weird, a whimsical sense of humor that lightens -- but never cheapens -- what could be, but is not, a very dreary film. Much of the success is due to the supporting cast, especially the perfectly pitched Dianne Wiest as Becca's mother, who has also lost a child -- Becca's brother who died as an adult of a drug overdose, a comparison that rankles Becca. Also strong is Tammy Blanchard (Cadillac Records) as Becca's black sheep sister, who announces that she is about to have a baby with her boyfriend, Auggie (Giancarlo Esposito, in an embarrassment of riches).


Other Reviews:

Roger Ebert | Anthony Lane | New York Times | Washington Post | Los Angeles Times
Wall Street Journal | Christian Science Monitor | Village Voice | TIME | Movie Review Intelligence

Searching for the talisman that will allow them to emerge from the darkness of grief, Becca and Howie settle on different paths, with Becca obsessing over Jason, the slightly strange teenager driving the car that hit their son, played with awkward guilt by newcomer Miles Teller. Elements of the character are reminiscent of Donnie Darko, including a fascination with alternate universes and the mysterious pathways among them -- the eponymous rabbit holes depicted in a comic book offered by Jason to Becca. It is a harmless fantasy that pleases them both, a tunnel to a world where he did not turn down her street, where they had not brought home a dog for their son, where Becca is something other than sad.

25.2.11

Classical Month in Washington (May)

Last month | Next month

Classical Month in Washington is a monthly feature. If there are concerts you would like to see included on our schedule, send your suggestions by e-mail (ionarts at gmail dot com). Happy listening!

May 1, 2011 (Sun)
3 pm
Bach, Easter Oratorio
Washington Bach Consort
National Presbyterian Church

May 1, 2011 (Sun)
3 pm
Drew Owen (cello) and Jeffery Watson (piano)
Washington Conservatory of Music
Glen Echo Park

May 1, 2011 (Sun)
3 pm
Georgetown University Orchestra
Music by Washington, D.C., composers
Gaston Hall, Georgetown University

May 1, 2011 (Sun)
4 pm
Formosa Quartet
Phillips Collection

May 1, 2011 (Sun)
4 pm
Virginia Chamber Orchestra
Music by Beethoven (with Elisabeth Adkins, violin)
Ernst Community Cultural Center, NVCC (Annandale, Va.)

May 1, 2011 (Sun)
4 pm
Itzhak Perlman (violin) and Rohan De Silva (piano)
WPAS
Music Center at Strathmore

May 1, 2011 (Sun)
5 pm
Washington Chorus: Mostly Mahler
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

May 1, 2011 (Sun)
6:30 pm
Thomas Pandolfi, piano [FREE]
National Gallery of Art

May 2, 2011 (Mon)
7:30 pm
NEH Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities: Drew Gilpin Faust [FREE]
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

May 3, 2011 (Tue)
12:10 pm
Noontime Cantata: Die Himmel lacht! Die Erde jubilieret, BWV 31 [FREE]
With Scott Dettra, organ
Washington Bach Consort
Church of the Epiphany (1317 G St. NW)

May 5, 2011 (Thu)
7 pm
National Symphony Orchestra
With Neeme Järvi (conductor) and Yefim Bronfman (piano)
Music by Glazunov, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev (Sy.6)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

May 5, 2011 (Thu)
8 pm
Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano
Music by Wagner, Berg, Scriabin, Liszt
WPAS
Sixth and I Historic Synagogue

May 5, 2011 (Thu)
8 pm
University of Maryland Symphony and Wind Orchestra
Music by Messiaen, Stravinsky, Debussy
Clarice Smith Center

May 6, 2011 (Fri)
7 pm
Gluck, Iphigénie en Tauride
With Patricia Racette and Plácido Domingo
Washington National Opera
Kennedy Center Opera House

May 6, 2011 (Fri)
7:30 pm
A Venti Ensemble: Around the Pianoforte
Music of Mozart, Beethoven, F. Witt
La Maison Française

May 6, 2011 (Fri)
8 pm
National Symphony Orchestra
With Neeme Järvi (conductor) and Yefim Bronfman (piano)
Music by Glazunov, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev (Sy.6)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

May 6, 2011 (Fri)
8 pm
Denis Matsuev, piano
Music by Schubert, Beethoven, Liszt, Rachmaninoff
Music Center at Strathmore

May 6, 2011 (Fri)
8 pm
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Music by Mendelssohn, Mahler
Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (Baltimore, Md.)

May 6, 2011 (Fri)
8 pm
Colin Jacobsen (violin) and Bruce Levingston (piano) [FREE]
Library of Congress

May 6, 2011 (Fri)
8 pm
Carl Tanner (tenor), Jason Stearns (baritone), others
Aurora Opera Theater
Spectrum Theater, Artisphere (Rosslyn, Va.)

May 7, 2011 (Sat)
11 and 1:30 pm
NSO Teddy Bear Concert: Bears, Bears, Everywhere
Kennedy Center Family Theater

May 7, 2011 (Sat)
2 pm
Philip Ledger, The Risen Christ
Washington National Cathedral

May 7, 2011 (Sat)
7:30 pm
Saeunn Thorsteinsdottir (cello) and Sam Armstrong (piano)
Embassy Series
Icelandic Ambassador's Residence (2443 Kalorama Rd. NW)

May 7, 2011 (Sat)
7:30 pm
Tango with National Chamber Ensemble
With José Cáceres, piano
Spectrum Theater, Artisphere (Rosslyn, Va.)

May 7, 2011 (Sat)
8 pm
National Symphony Orchestra
With Neeme Järvi (conductor) and Yefim Bronfman (piano)
Music by Glazunov, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev (Sy.6)
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

May 7, 2011 (Sat)
8 pm
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Music by Mendelssohn, Mahler
Music Center at Strathmore

May 7, 2011 (Sat)
8 pm
A Multi-Media Four Seasons
Bach Sinfonia
Cultural Arts Center, Montgomery College (Silver Spring, Md.)

May 8, 2011 (Sun)
1:30 and 4 pm
NSO Teddy Bear Concert: Bears, Bears, Everywhere
Kennedy Center Family Theater

May 8, 2011 (Sun)
2 pm
Capital Orchestra Festival
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

May 8, 2011 (Sun)
3 pm
Mendelssohn Piano Trio [FREE]
Steinway Series
Smithsonian American Art Museum

May 8, 2011 (Sun)
3 pm
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Music by Mendelssohn, Mahler
Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (Baltimore, Md.)

May 8, 2011 (Sun)
4 pm
Robert Stallman (flute) and Edwin Swanborn (harpsichord)
Phillips Collection

May 8, 2011 (Sun)
5 pm
Symphony Stories (music by Ravel, Musorgsky)
Capital City Symphony
Atlas Performing Arts Center

May 8, 2011 (Sun)
6:30 pm
NGA Resident Ensembles [FREE]
National Gallery of Art

May 8, 2011 (Sun)
8 pm
Adelphi String Quartet [FREE]
Clarice Smith Center

May 9, 2011 (Mon)
7 pm
Gluck, Iphigénie en Tauride
With Patricia Racette and Plácido Domingo
Washington National Opera
Kennedy Center Opera House

May 9, 2011 (Mon)
8 pm
University of Maryland Percussion Ensemble [FREE]
With Jauvon Gilliam, timpani
Clarice Smith Center

May 10, 2011 (Tue)
7:30 pm
Fessenden Ensemble
Music by Ravel, Françaix
St. Colomba's Episcopal Church

May 11, 2011 (Wed)
7:30 pm
Fessenden Ensemble
Music by Ravel, Françaix
St. Colomba's Episcopal Church

May 12, 2011 (Thu)
6:30 pm
Winter's Bone (screening)
National Museum of Natural History

May 12, 2011 (Thu)
7:30 pm
Gluck, Iphigénie en Tauride
With Patricia Racette and Plácido Domingo
Washington National Opera
Kennedy Center Opera House

May 12, 2011 (Thu)
7:30 pm
Sharona Joshua, piano
Music by Clara (Wieck) Schumann
Mansion at Strathmore

May 12, 2011 (Thu)
8 pm
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Music by Schumann
Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (Baltimore, Md.)

May 13, 2011 (Fri)
7 pm
Don Pasquale
Washington National Opera
Kennedy Center Opera House

May 13, 2011 (Fri)
8 pm
Tigran Alikanov (piano) and friends [FREE]
Library of Congress

May 13, 2011 (Fri)
8 pm
Ma Maison (music by Preservation Hall Jazz Band)
Trey McIntyre Project
WPAS
Sidney Harman Hall

May 13, 2011 (Fri)
8 pm
Puccini, Le Villi (in English)
Opera Vivente (Baltimore, Md.)

May 13, 2011 (Fri)
8:15 pm
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
"Schumann's Beautiful Mind"
Music Center at Strathmore

May 14, 2011 (Sat)
2 and 8 pm
Ma Maison (music by Preservation Hall Jazz Band)
Trey McIntyre Project
WPAS
Sidney Harman Hall

May 14, 2011 (Sat)
3 pm
Cineconcert: Metropolis [FREE]
Music by Silent Orchestra
Smithsonian American Art Museum

May 14, 2011 (Sat)
7 pm
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
"Schumann's Beautiful Mind"
Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (Baltimore, Md.)

May 14, 2011 (Sat)
8 pm
NOW Ensemble and Victoire [FREE]
Atlas Performing Arts Center

May 14, 2011 (Sat)
8 pm
Prince George's Philharmonic
Verdi, Requiem
Clarice Smith Center

May 14, 2011 (Sat)
8 pm
National Philharmonic
Music by Bach, Mozart
Music Center at Strathmore

May 15, 2011 (Sun)
1 and 3 pm
NSO Family Concert: Beethoven Lives Upstairs
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

May 15, 2011 (Sun)
2 pm
Gluck, Iphigénie en Tauride
With Patricia Racette and Plácido Domingo
Washington National Opera
Kennedy Center Opera House

May 15, 2011 (Sun)
3 pm
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Music by Schumann
Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (Baltimore, Md.)

May 15, 2011 (Sun)
3 pm
Puccini, Le Villi (in English)
Opera Vivente (Baltimore, Md.)

May 15, 2011 (Sun)
4 pm
Erin Keefe (violin) and Lucille Chung (piano)
Phillips Collection

May 15, 2011 (Sun)
4 pm
Cathedral Choral Society
Music by Gretchaninov, Taneyev, Rimsky-Korsakov
Washington National Cathedral

May 15, 2011 (Sun)
6:30 pm
Award-Winners from the Feder Memorial String Competition of the Washington Performing Arts Society [FREE]
National Gallery of Art

May 15, 2011 (Sun)
7:30 pm
Menahem Pressler, piano
JCCGW (Rockville, Md.)

May 16, 2011 (Mon)
7 pm
Don Pasquale
Washington National Opera
Kennedy Center Opera House

May 16, 2011 (Mon)
7:30 pm
Paul Appleby (tenor) and Steven Blier (piano)
Vocal Arts D.C.
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

May 17, 2011 (Tue)
7:30 pm
Gluck, Iphigénie en Tauride
With Patricia Racette and Plácido Domingo
Washington National Opera
Kennedy Center Opera House

May 18, 2011 (Wed)
7:30 pm
Don Pasquale
Washington National Opera
Kennedy Center Opera House

May 18, 2011 (Wed)
7:30 pm
Sarah Coburn, soprano [FREE]
National Museum of Women in the Arts

May 18, 2011 (Wed)
8 pm
Carmen
Washington Ballet (NB:recorded music)
Sidney Harman Hall

May 19, 2011 (Thu)
7 pm
National Symphony Orchestra
With Thomas Dausgaard (conductor) and Nikolai Lugansky (piano)
Music by Sibelius, Beethoven, Nielsen
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

May 19, 2011 (Thu)
7:30 pm
Aaron Grad (electric guitar): The Father Book
Mansion at Strathmore

May 19, 2011 (Thu)
7:30 pm
Gilles Apap, violin
La Maison Française

May 19, 2011 (Thu)
8 pm
Carmen
Washington Ballet (NB:recorded music)
Sidney Harman Hall

May 19, 2011 (Thu)
8 pm
Puccini, Le Villi (in English)
Opera Vivente (Baltimore, Md.)

May 20, 2011 (Fri)
1:30 pm
National Symphony Orchestra
With Thomas Dausgaard (conductor) and Nikolai Lugansky (piano)
Music by Sibelius, Beethoven, Nielsen
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

May 20, 2011 (Fri)
7:30 pm
Chatham Baroque
Embassy Series
Embassy of Italy

May 20, 2011 (Fri)
7:30 pm
Gluck, Iphigénie en Tauride
With Patricia Racette and Plácido Domingo
Washington National Opera
Kennedy Center Opera House

May 20, 2011 (Fri)
8 pm
Philadelphia Orchestra
With Charles Dutoit (conductor) and Gil Shaham (violin)
Music by Walton, R. Strauss
WPAS
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

May 20, 2011 (Fri)
8 pm
eighth blackbird [FREE]
Library of Congress

May 20, 2011 (Fri)
8 pm
Carmen
Washington Ballet (NB:recorded music)
Sidney Harman Hall

May 21, 2011 (Sat)
2 pm
U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own" [FREE]
Roots of the American Songbook
Atlas Performing Arts Center

May 21, 2011 (Sat)
2:30 and 8 pm
Carmen
Washington Ballet (NB:recorded music)
Sidney Harman Hall

May 21, 2011 (Sat)
7 pm
Don Pasquale
Washington National Opera
Kennedy Center Opera House

May 21, 2011 (Sat)
8 pm
National Symphony Orchestra
With Thomas Dausgaard (conductor) and Nikolai Lugansky (piano)
Music by Sibelius, Beethoven, Nielsen
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

May 21, 2011 (Sat)
8 pm
Christopher Shih, piano
Candlelight Concert Society
Horowitz Performing Arts Center, Howard Community College (Columbia, Md.)

May 21, 2011 (Sat)
8 pm
Puccini, Le Villi (in English)
Opera Vivente (Baltimore, Md.)

May 21, 2011 (Sat)
8 pm
National Philharmonic
Verdi, Requiem
Music Center at Strathmore

May 22, 2011 (Sun)
1 and 5:30 pm
Carmen
Washington Ballet (NB:recorded music)
Sidney Harman Hall

May 22, 2011 (Sun)
1:30 and 4 pm
NSO Kinderkonzert: Got Rhythm?
Kennedy Center Family Theater

May 22, 2011 (Sun)
2 pm
Don Pasquale
Washington National Opera
Kennedy Center Opera House

May 22, 2011 (Sun)
4 pm
Andrius Zlabys, piano
Phillips Collection

May 22, 2011 (Sun)
5 pm
Choral Arts Society: Northern Lights
Music by Olli Kortekangas, others
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

May 22, 2011 (Sun)
6 pm
Massenet, Werther
With Giuseppe Filianoti (tenor) and Jennifer Larmore (soprano)
Washington Concert Opera
Lisner Auditorium

May 22, 2011 (Sun)
6:30 pm
Alexandria Symphony Orchestra [FREE]
Music by Mahler
National Gallery of Art

May 23, 2011 (Mon)
8 pm
Ravi Shankar, sitar
WPAS
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

May 24, 2011 (Tue)
7:30 pm
Don Pasquale
Washington National Opera
Kennedy Center Opera House

May 25, 2011 (Wed)
7:30 pm
Gluck, Iphigénie en Tauride
With Patricia Racette and Plácido Domingo
Washington National Opera
Kennedy Center Opera House

May 26, 2011 (Thu)
7:30 pm
Don Pasquale
Washington National Opera
Kennedy Center Opera House

May 27, 2011 (Fri)
7:30 pm
Rosa Lamoreaux (soprano), Richard Spece (clarinet), Elizabeth Hill (piano)
Music by Dvořák, Spohr, Janáček
Embassy Series
Embassy of the Czech Republic

May 27, 2011 (Fri)
7:30 pm
Don Pasquale
Washington National Opera
Kennedy Center Opera House

May 27, 2011 (Thu)
8 pm
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
With Carlos Kalmar (conductor) and Karen Gomyo (violin)
Music by Mahler, Sibelius, Walton
Meyerhoff Symphony Hall (Baltimore, Md.)

May 28, 2011 (Sat)
2 pm
Washington International Piano Competition [FREE]
Friday Morning Music Club
Kennedy Center Terrace Theater

May 28, 2011 (Sat)
7 pm
Gluck, Iphigénie en Tauride
With Patricia Racette and Plácido Domingo
Washington National Opera
Kennedy Center Opera House

May 28, 2011 (Fri)
8 pm
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
With Carlos Kalmar (conductor) and Karen Gomyo (violin)
Music by Mahler, Sibelius, Walton
Music Center at Strathmore

May 29, 2011 (Sun)
2 pm
National Memorial Day Choral Festival [FREE]
Kennedy Center Concert Hall

May 29, 2011 (Sun)
4 pm
Kyrsty Swann, mezzo-soprano
Phillips Collection

May 31, 2011 (Tue)
7:30 pm
The Magic of Dance (anthology of scenes)
Ballet Nacional de Cuba
Kennedy Center Opera House

Ionarts-at-Large: BRSO in Bach & Mendelssohn Cantatas

If you have a choir to show off—as Bavarian Radio does—then that dictates program choices that would otherwise never come up: Who would ever hire a chorus—with all the financial, artistic, and logistical challenges—to perform a Bach Cantata (a completley unknown one, at that) and Felix Mendelssohn B.’s Walpurgisnacht Cantata?! Well, the BR not only has its own chorus, but it might well be argued that it is—ahead even of the Symphony Orchestra—the true jewel among the Bavarian Radio’s musical bodies.

Especially with conductors whose forté lies in handling choral works, it makes plain sense to assign them work that couples orchestra and chorus. Thomas Hengelbrock—MD Designate of the NDRSO, the northern public broadcast orchestra-sibling of the BRSO—is one such conductor. Two years after his last appearance with the BRSO he was back (appropriately dressed, this time) for this set of two concerts on the last Thursday and Friday of February.

available at Amazon
J.S.Bach, BWV 206 et al.,
Rilling / GK&BCS / C.Schäfer, M.Volle et al.
Hänssler
available at Amazon
F.Mendelssohn B., Walpurgisnacht et al.,
Harnoncourt / COE / T.Hampson, R.Pape et al.
Warner
The Cantata BWV 206—Schleicht, spielende Wellen und murmelt gelinde! (“Glide, playful waves, and murmur gently!”)—praises Augustus III, King of Poland, Elector of Saxony, Son of August the Strong, by way of analogy using four rivers: Elbe, Vistula, Danube, and the tiny Pleiße (Leipzig), each standing in for a political constituency; Dresden/Saxony, Poland, Austria, and Leipzig, respectively. Alas, text and story behind it are more interesting to a history major than a lover of Bach’s music or concert-audience; it’s the music—of properly royal splendor with trumpets and timpani—that counts, and it’s excellent. If skipping most of Bach’s secular cantatas doesn’t usually mean sacrificing much, musically, because he was in the habit of cannibalizing those works for other compositions, BWV 206 has an exclusive claim to its music. In other words, it needs to be heard to be heard.

The title isn’t indicative of the cantata’s mood incidentally; after the opening titular lines, the author changes his mind about the river’s desired velocity and adds: “No, wait… rush rapidly!” And except for the very opening, it is a lively work, with buoyant grandeur and appropriately full bodied in the BRSO’s precise, crisp, easy-on-the-vibrato fashion and a chorus of about 40 singers.

Bach didn’t call it a cantata either, but a “Dramma per musica”, except that with the sole protagonists being four rivers, and those engaged solely in toadying the royal patron on his birthday, there’s hardy little drama to be had. The arias for bass (James Rutherford, Vistula), tenor (Steve Davislim, Elbe), mezzo (Elisabeth Kulman, Danube), and soprano (Dorothee Mields, Pleisse) are massive, as is the whole, forty-minute work that begins with a considerable overture and ends with a rousing chorus. Rutherford was faultless, loud, low, and unmelodic, Davislim had himself excused as being inflicted by a cold and squeaked once, to prove it. Elisbaeth Kulman was thoroughly pleasing with an immediate, raw touch, and Dorothee Mields tried, as best she could, to make herself heard with a beautifully pure, but relatively small voice.

The same can be said about the three singers (bass, tenor, mezzo) in Mendelssohn’s large orchestral cantata “Die Erste Walpurgisnacht”, except that Davislim seemed to have recovered at intermission and came back with a surprisingly clear and beaming voice, while Rutherford veered towards belting out his part as if it was Sprechgesang. The chorus was its usual splendid self, only the cameos by a tenor and a bass for small solo parts were a letdown. Berlioz was a big fan of the work when its revised version premiered, and it’s not difficult to see why: After a beginning that clearly betrays the composer of the Midsummer Night’s Dream and the Second (Choral) Symphony, the wild climax has a frantic, operatic touch that—at least on this night—seemed to include little splashes that wouldn’t been completely out of place in… Bizet.

Even if the cantata isn’t an outright scorcher, the performance was rousing enough to make you believe so for the duration of the evening—the ovations were considerable… but then they always are when the chorus, the apple of the locals’ ears, is performing.

Opening Tonight: 'Even the Rain'

Even the Rain (También la lluvia) starts out as a film about Spaniards revisiting the specter of their country's colonial past. Film director Sebastián, played by with nervous, slightly self-righteous fervor by Gael García Bernal, arrives with his crew in Cochabamba, Bolivia, to shoot a movie that will tell the true story of Christopher Columbus's exploitation of the indigenous people of the Americas. His producer, Costa (a grimly efficient Luis Tosar), has settled on the location because there will be an unlimited supply of extras and cheap labor. From a crush of locals lined up for the casting call, they pick Daniel (Juan Carlos Aduviri) to play Hatuey, the leader of an indigenous rebellion against Columbus and the Spaniards. At the first read-through, drunken veteran actor Antón, cast as Columbus (and played with bitter, sarcastic relish by Karra Elejalde, whose most recent credit is a small part in Biutiful), shows his seriousness with the role by acting it out all'improvviso with the local (Indian) staff.

The idea of art imitating life seems plain enough: colonial exploitation recreated by the makers of a film about how it was wrong for Europeans to exploit the Americas. Then the screenplay, by Paul Laverty, adds another, probably unneeded layer, as we discover that Daniel is in real life the leader of a popular uprising in Bolivia over local water supplies, which are controlled by the government and international conglomerates. The members of the film crew see the growing unrest threaten the very possibility that they will be able to complete their film at all, let alone keep to their schedule. Their professional worries -- and guilt over their own exploitation of the local Bolivians -- eventually yield to their sympathy for the water demonstrations. In a way, the screenplay is a metaphor for how a film about a political cause, and even film stars advocating for a cause, are no substitute for real action.


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Along the rather convoluted way, there is much to admire and much that seems grotesquely contrived, especially in the final thirty minutes of the film. The film is at its best early on, when it remains in a light-hearted mood, with the actors poking fun at one another for their various attitudes about colonialism: who can be more sanctimonious? Taking the side of the water protesters, the film crew asks a government official how people who make $2 a day can afford to pay more for water. Without missing a beat, he responds that that amount is about what the producer is paying the extras, isn't it? Like most movies that take on a "big issue," Even the Rain stalls on its own preachiness: not that water rights is not an important issue, which it certainly is, but the political tone deflates the plot and squeezes most of the interest out of the characters. The film was selected as the Spanish entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at this year's 83rd Academy Awards, but while it made the shortlist of nine, it was not among the final selection for a nomination. Director Icíar Bollaín has made a film that is beautiful in many ways, but she has spoken in print about the water issue in a way that explains how the film gets bogged down in politics.

Even the Rain opens today at the E Street Cinema.

24.2.11

For Your Consideration: 'The Fighter'

The Fighter, directed by David O. Russell (whose last feature film was I ♥ Huckabees, in 2004), is the true story of boxer Micky Ward, who came out of a down period in his career to stage a remarkable comeback. The film follows this extraordinary story, how Ward overcame the interfering "support" of his family to win a junior welterweight title, but stops before he gets to his most famous fights -- three knock-down, drag-out matches against Arturo Gatti. It is an excellent movie, worthy of its nomination for an Academy Award as Best Picture, although it does not seem likely to edge out The King's Speech at this Sunday's ceremony. (If our ongoing Oscar poll is any indication, the competition will come down to The King's Speech and The Social Network.)

The movie is likely to get at least one award, it seems, and it may fall to Christian Bale, nominated as Best Supporting Actor for his role as Micky's half-brother Dicky, an older, washed-up fighter who is so addicted to crack that a documentary film crew is recording his activities for a film about the effects of crack addiction. Bale is gaunt and pale (as memorable a face as ever, all the way back to his childhood star role in Empire of the Sun), a battered shell caught in a self-perpetuating family cycle. Between him and their mother, Alice, played with trashy savagery by Melissa Leo, and a grotesque gallery of toady sisters, Micky has almost no room to breathe. Leo received a Best Supporting Actress nomination, as did Amy Adams for her role as Micky's strong-willed girlfriend: neither seems likely to win the award with both Helena Bonham Carter (The King's Speech) and Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) in the running. (I think that the best performance, although unlikely to win, is by Jacki Weaver in Animal Kingdom.)


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The nomination that stands out by its absence is for Mark Wahlberg, who is admirably on target in the title role. Wahlberg grew up in working-class Massachusetts in a big family, and had run-ins with the police in his life, not unlike Micky Ward. There is something brutish, not to say unnuanced, about Walhberg's performance, and his famous physique, beefed up appropriately, is entirely believable for the character. David O. Russell was also nominated for Best Director, but the film falls short of his most memorable work, more comically oriented films like Three Kings and Spanking the Monkey. The same goes for the screenplay, seemingly written by committee with credits going to Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, and Keith Dorrington. It was nominated for Best Original Screenplay, and the dialogue rings true as an evocation of working class Lowell, Mass., if at times it is also more prosaic than not. As for the final Oscar nomination, Best Achievement in Editing, that is anyone's guess.

23.2.11

For Your Consideration: 'Animal Kingdom'

available at Amazon
Animal Kingdom (directed by
David Michôd)
Australian director David Michôd had a few award-winning short films to his name when he came out of nowhere with his debut feature, Animal Kingdom. The film received several awards, at Sundance and the Golden Globes among others, and it is one of the most gripping films in terms of character and story of those under review in this series leading up to the Academy Awards this Sunday. Like Winter's Bone, it concerns the inner turmoil of a crime family, in this case drug dealers and armed robbers in Melbourne. Josh (or J), the youngest member of the family, is reunited with his nefarious relatives when his mother, who is hardly a saint but who has tried to keep her son away from crime, overdoses on heroine. He has last seen them years ago, as a small child, and now he finds himself suddenly in the middle of the criminal activities of his uncles and their friends.

The cast gives a varied look at the life of crime, from the unbalanced, even psychopathic, in ringleader brother Andrew "Pope" Cody (the deceptively plain Ben Mendelsohn) to the sympathetic, sensible family friend Barry Brown (the avuncular Joel Edgerton) and the almost innocent brother Darren Cody (the charismatic Luke Ford). Most memorable of all is the the hotheaded, drug-dealing Craig Cody, played by a fierce Sullivan Stapleton with the most terrifying steely glare in the film and a volcanic temper hiding inner terror. Trying to find his place in this group of miscreants is the impressionable Josh Cody, played by open-faced, slightly vacant newcomer James Frecheville. The film's devastating opening scene, which begins with Josh sitting next to his mother, who has just died of an overdose, is unforgettable. As we watch his eyes hover between the rescue personnel trying to revive her and the idiotic game show he has been watching on television, it is clear that Josh has a most unusual sense of normal life.



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It is no surprise that he is drawn on some level to Leckie, the detective who tries to pry him away from this tight-knot but ultimately treacherous family, on odd sort of substitute father played by the ever-versatile Guy Pearce, softened with a cheesy mustache and miles away from his playboy King Edward VIII in The King's Speech. Josh tries to find a normal life for a 17-year-old, dating a girl from school (the lovely Laura Wheelwright) and fitting in as best he can with her relatively normal family. The strongest pull from his own family is exerted by the strange, matriarchal presence of his grandmother Janine, known as Grandma Smurf. As played magnificently by Jacki Weaver, she is vilely duplicitous, all cuddles and creepily physical affection on one hand, and bloodthirsty harshness on the other. She received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress, the film's only Oscar recognition.

Weaver would probably get my vote because her performance and the role are so unusual, and much of it is not necessarily found in the screenplay -- a lot in glances, smiles, and body attitude. Given how little coverage the film has received, however, she probably has little chance at winning: at the time of writing she has received only one vote in the Ionarts Oscar Poll. Michôd directed this film from his own screenplay and it is excellent work, perhaps relying too much on voice-over to get at the inner mind of his protagonist. As an evocation of the underworld of 1980s Melbourne, the natural comparison is to American mob film counterparts like Casino, Donnie Brasco, or Goodfellas. To make too much of that parallel would be to disregard the originality of Michôd's film, which is vicious without being slick and over-produced or too dark and gritty like those earlier films.

Belly Laughs and Haunting Beauty

Much has already been said about George Condo's retrospective Mental States at the New Museum. His riff on old master painting styles -- the likes of Goya, Velázquez, Picasso, and the Surrealists -- is wonderful madness. The regal subjects of Condo's imaginary portraits are oblivious to their bizarreness, driven to madness by a crazed world.

Divided into four sections -- Portraiture, Melancholia, Manic Society, and Abstraction -- this survey brings together over 80 paintings and shinny gold-coated bronze heads (which reminded me of Jeff Koons's Michael Jackson and Bubbles sculpture). I've been a fan of Condo's work for some time: he's a very good painter and when he nails his subjects you can't help the belly laugh. Several broke out in the galleries the day I visited, and that's all too rare and wonderful.

Another retrospective at the New Museum, that couldn't be more removed from Condo, is that of Lynda Benglis,. Benglis, whose career began in the 60s and 70s, creates work out of pigmented latex, cast aluminum, and phosphorous pigmented polyurethane.


Those tongue-twisting materials were at the time all new inventions of modern science, and Benglis boldly experimented with all of it. Luckily the curators have laid out a thoughtful, well-designed exhibit. With the cast aluminum shape titled Wing, it's at times a gravity-defying installation.

And lucky for me, Stephen Haller extends his shows a bit longer, as I wanted a second look at Linda Stojak's ghostly images. The solitary female figures that inhabit Stojak's canvases captivate. These dignified souls have had untold experiences, of which the lush complex painting surfaces are clues.

22.2.11

Oscar Poll: Who Should Win?

It was probably inevitable that I would figure out how to do a reader poll, and now look what happens. We have been reviewing all the films up for this year's Academy Awards: this is your chance to cast your vote for what or who should win in the major categories. Feel free to vote in all of the categories (the rest of them are after the jump -- just click on the "Read More" link at the bottom of this post) or just a few. Voting closes this Sunday at 4:30 pm, just in time for the Oscar broadcast, when we will compare your picks with ours and, most importantly, with the winners.



For Your Consideration: '127 Hours'

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127 Hours (directed by
Danny Boyle)


available at Amazon
Aron Ralston, Between a Rock
and a Hard Place
The ordeal of Aron Ralston was told in news stories around the world in 2003: the mountaineer survived falling into a canyon in Utah, having his arm pinned under a rock, and eventually amputating his own arm to escape. (He told one newspaper that the process took about an hour, including snapping the bones, cutting the flesh, arteries, and nerves with a dull knife, and tearing the tendons with a pair of pliers.) 127 Hours is a movie version directed by Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting) on his own screenplay, written with Simon Beaufoy, adapted from Aron Ralston's autobiography, Between a Rock and a Hard Place. Ralston's story is gruesome, and public horror and sympathy for what happened made him a celebrity, which is not the first time that has happened. Boyle's film does not stint on the gruesome, although the arm-cutting scene could have been much more visually graphic than it is. The trick was how to dramatize a story that is essentially static -- five days of a man trapped in a slot canyon -- and in this it succeeds with a glossy product that is somewhat short on character.

James Franco is slightly goofy as Ralston, an awkward and apparently utterly normal person caught completely unprepared for the extraordinary situation awaiting him. Franco was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor, an award it seems unlikely he will win. It's quite a role, essentially a one-man film with so much of the camera time spent on him, and Franco is good enough to keep the viewer's attention throughout, but not more than that. Likewise, the award for Best Adapted Screenplay does not seem likely to go beyond the nomination the film received. Many of the details from Ralston's account are included faithfully (six months after the incident he recounted the event to Tom Brokaw, while visiting the site -- see the whole video here, which is informative viewing): like the raven that flew overhead each morning, and the hallucination (or vision) of a little boy near the end of his ordeal, who he came to believe was the son he would have one day if he summoned the strength to escape.


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Still, the film gives an extremely limited impression of who Ralston was before the accident. In actual life, Ralston had degrees in French (which figures in the songs chosen for the soundtrack) and mechanical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. He had left his job as a mechanical engineer to undertake adventures in mountaineering and live the free life, while working at a shop that sold mountaineering equipment: only the latter is featured in the film, making Franco's character seem mostly like a rootless drifter. Furthermore, the canyon incident was only the latest in a series of brushes with death: Ralston had survived a Class 5 avalanche just two months before the Blue John Canyon ordeal, after skiing into the avalanche zone in spite of dire warnings.

Nominations for Best Picture and Best Achievement in Editing seem like long shots, too, although the latter is possible as a consolation prize. For my taste, the film was edited too briskly and with too many visual tricks -- enough with the triple-screen splits, already. The same goes for a scene in which the hallucinating Franco has an extended dialogue with himself near the end of the film, cast as if he is a contestant on a game show: the reference to Gollum's famous self-dialogue in The Two Towers feels too tongue-in-cheek for this subject matter (although Ralston recounted that he did speak to himself while trapped in the canyon). Both of these somewhat glib parts of the film were featured prominently in the full-length trailer (embedded below), as if to reassure prospective viewers that the experience of watching the film would not be too grim. Indian composer A. R. Rahman seems unlikely to win again for Best Original Score and Best Original Song, since he won awards in both those categories only two years ago, for Slumdog Millionaire. While the score does not seem worthy on its own merits, Rahman may have a chance for another Oscar in the Best Original Song category for I Rise Again. The song plays at the moment that Franco breaks free and is eventually rescued, making it a symbolic part of the film's achievement.

21.2.11

Cuarteto Casals: Supernova in Ligeti

This review is an Ionarts exclusive.

available at Amazon
Metamorphosis (Bartók, Ligeti, Kurtág), Cuarteto Casals

(released on August 10, 2010)
HMC 902062 | 54'13"
Both in concert and on disc, Spain's Cuarteto Casals is one of the groups we follow around here, and we expected good things from their return to Washington on Saturday night, at the Kreeger Museum. The group's best performances have the verve and power that one hears from many string quartets, but also much more than that, an amber warmth that predominates over acidic buzz, and a collaborative esprit -- rather than a competitive one -- that allows greater dynamic and rhythmic freedom without losing cohesion. These four young musicians, two of whom are brothers, also have a knack for choosing unusual repertory -- from Toldrà and Turina, to Juan Arriaga, to Ligeti and Kurtág, in their latest recording -- and for playing the core repertory with polish and unexpected interpretative choices.

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Boccherini, op. 32/3-6, Quartetto Borciani


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Boccherini, op. 32/1-2 and 29, Quartetto Borciani
This concert, in the lively acoustic of the Kreeger's Great Hall, opened with one of the several dozen string quartets by Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805), op. 32, no. 5. As much as we love to hear the Mozart and especially Haydn quartets on chamber music programs, Boccherini would be a welcome alternative for the early classical slot far more often than we currently hear him -- look at all that chamber music! As it turned out, it was our good luck to be reminded of this on a particularly appropriate day: the concert took place on the composer's birthday, February 19. (Because he spent the last phase of his career in Spain, it was another reason for the Ambassador of Spain, who lives just across Foxhall Rd. from the Kreeger, to co-sponsor this concert.) Boccherini was a gifted melodist, creating tunes like the first theme of the first movement of this quartet, almost too simple but yielding many good ideas in a streamlined way. It is not fancy or overly intellectual music, but it sounds very good, and this performance gave every indication that the group's new Boccherini CD, recorded last fall, will be worth hearing. The forms of each movement were marked incisively, with a beautiful handling of the cadenza at the end of the fourth movement, marked by Boccherini as "Capriccio ad libitum," by violinist Abel Tomàs, who sat first violin for this piece only.

The group's performance of György Ligeti's first string quartet, subtitled Métamorphoses nocturnes, was nothing short of revelatory. Many young string quartets are playing Ligeti's quartets these days -- the Pacifica, Parker, Brentano, Galatea, Artemis, Hagen, for a start -- but few have brought out all of the first quartet's best qualities like this performance (they also played the work during their Carnegie Hall debut in 2007). This quartet dates from the early 1950s, just in the period after Ligeti had survived World War II: working in Budapest, he and his friend György Kurtág devoted themselves to the music of Bartók, with Ligeti even making ethnomusicological outings into the countryside to collect Hungarian folk songs. Bartók's influence can be heard throughout the work, in the irregular, folk-influenced rhythms and the development of the chromatic motif that opens it, as well as the many hallucinatory instrumental effects. First violinist Vera Martínez led the group with a tone that could be both ferocious and seductive, that last an important part of the nocturnal inspiration that is sometimes missed. The group's new recording shows their understanding of the historical background, pairing the piece with Bartók's fourth quartet and Kurtág's twelve microludes for string quartet, op. 13.

All of the group's suavity seemed to evaporate in the second half, when pianist Andreas Klein joined them for Schumann's piano quintet, op. 44. This performance was a reminder that even the most exquisite piece of chamber music -- something that we have heard memorably on its own and as the accompaniment to modern dance -- can be rendered mediocre by the wrong performance. Where Joyce Yang, playing the work with the Takács Quartet, was equal parts transparency and force where she needed it, Klein's hand at the open-lidded piano, an already loud instrument in that space, was all brute force. He did not seem to give any quarter to the other musicians, pushing and pulling the tempo to suit his own needs, and the strings responded in kind, generally with hammering force. This led to some disjunction rhythmically between piano and strings in the faster movements, and an unsatisfying, overblown ensemble sound, a disappointing end to the evening.

The next concerts at the Kreeger Museum will be the annual June Chamber Music Festival (June 10 to 17).