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MUSIC REVIEW : Faculty Members Offer Potpourri at UCI Concert

In an effort to raise funds for student scholarships, the Town and Gown Music Group of UC Irvine held a piecemeal benefit concert Sunday afternoon at the Fine Arts Village Theatre on the UCI campus. Ten members of the UCI faculty participated as performers in a musical potpourri of various styles, sensibilities and abilities.

Michele Zukovsky, principal clarinet of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, appeared as a special guest but hardly could have been considered a soloist. Instead, she kept a low profile, participating only in a pair of trios that only sparsely demonstrated anything out of the ordinary.

Two movements from Beethoven’s Trio in B-flat presented little that challenged her. Cellist Stephen Erdody managed the cello part, often grimacing and sometimes overemphasizing the nuances of each phrase. Pianist Mark Trawka assisted dutifully in the prominent piano part.

Zukovsky also performed in the Allegro from Carl Reinecke’s Trio for horn, clarinet and piano, with Carol Bacon Drake on horn and Trawka again on piano. The undertaking proved lackluster.

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A group of humorous pieces entitled “Views of the Irvine Zoo,” performed by a quartet dubbed “the Irvine Wild Life Consort,” provided the most imaginative undertaking of the afternoon. Anthony Plog’s “Animal Ditties” especially charmed with a Post-Modern setting of witty zoological texts.

Baritone Marvin Hayes narrated with humor and expressivity; Alfred Lang gave careful attention to the trumpet part of playful, tonal melodies and improvisatory jazz licks while Margaret Murata accompanied exuberantly on piano.

As a novelty, Erdody deftly played Saint-Saens’ familiar “Le Cygne” using only an orange on the fingerboard. Aptly, he changed the title to “Cygne a l’orange” in a refreshingly daffy presentation.

A nervous reading of Samuel Barber’s “Dover Beach” proved troublesome for Hayes, whose deep, rich voice often was slighted by unclear enunciation. Lutenist John Schneiderman, cellist Mark Chatfield and violinist James Sitterly provided the only example of Baroque music in an intimate, pleasant performance of Karl Kohaut’s Trio.

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