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Dance and Music Reviews : ‘Music for Mischa’ Series Closes at Gindi

The current “Music for Mischa” series in Gindi Auditorium at the University of Judaism closed with style, as clarinetist Michele Zukovsky, pianist Cynthia Raim and cellist Robert Martin offered a trio of very different works.

Local audiences are familiar with at least two of the performers. Martin, the series’ founder and producer, has long played an active role in the local chamber music scene. Zukovsky, co-principal clarinetist of the Philharmonic, has also been an avid practitioner of chamber music. Raim, who first performed for Southland audiences a year and a half ago at the Ford Theater’s summer chamber series, would certainly be welcomed for future appearances.

One of the things that is so special about chamber music is that each musician is at all times keenly aware of precisely what each of the others is doing. As a result, the players perform as one; problems of balances, intonation and rhythmic unity are solved almost before they happen.

And, most important, there is a unanimity of interpretation. This proved the case in Brahms’ Trio in A minor, a late, inward-looking work, in which melodic lines are lovingly passed from one voice to the other. It was true also in Beethoven’s Trio in B-flat, Opus 11, where a feeling of ebullience pervaded the music. Zukovsky’s rich, full tone, technical fluency and sensitivity was matched by Raim’s unerring control and Martin’s lyricism.

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Sandwiched between the trios was George Rochberg’s “Carnival Music” for solo piano. The work is essentially built around the contrast of a harsh, primitivist, atonal style reminiscent of Bartok and Stravinsky, a jazzy, almost flippant style employing blues and ragtime. The composer’s transitions from one style to the other are effected so smoothly that “Carnival Music” emerges as a unified and very cogent work.

Bravo to Raim, who brought energetic fervor and dynamism to the 1971 score, as well as subtlety and humor, which made the bitonal blues sections so delicious.


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