Notes and Editorial Reviews
MIST OVER THE LAKE
Cynthia Koledo DeAlmeida (ob);
Rhian Kenny (fl);
Andrés Cárdenes (vn);
Paul Silver (va);
David Premo (vc);
Marina dePretoro (pn);
James Ferla (gtr)
CRYSTAL CD729 (72:09)
7 Short Pieces.
12 Variations on a Theme by Franz Schubert.
Mist over the Lake
This release bears witness to the virtuosic heights our major American orchestras have attained over the last generation or so. Cynthia Koledo DeAlmeida has been principal oboe of the Pittsburgh Symphony since 1991, Andrés Cárdenes is that same orchestra’s concertmaster and the conductor of Pittsburgh Symphony Chamber Orchestra, and flutist Rhian Kenny has played in the Pittsburgh Symphony since 1990. All three have often performed as concerto soloists with the orchestra. Violist Paul Silver plays in that same band, and cellist David Premo has been the Pittsburgh’s (associate) principal cello since 2001. Guitarist James Ferla is Pittsburgh based, and pianist Marina Schmidt dePretoro often performs with the Pittsburgh Symphony. So here we have entered a club of sorts.
DeAlmeida’s tone is wonderfully variegated, her phrasing is supple, and her musical insights are unfailingly illuminating. Her apt repertoire choices—pieces that will be terra incognito to most standard orchestral concertgoers, though not to woodwind aficionados—provide her with a fine playground on which to display her musical assets.
João Guilherme Ripper was born in 1959 in Rio de Janeiro. His
for oboe, cello, and piano is at once an homage to Robert Schumann and a synthesis of Schumann’s music with that of his native Brazil. Its last two movements, marked
, bring the folk music of his native country to the fore, and as presented in this miniature suite, posit (much as Villa-Lobos had so often done) a synergistic relationship between two seemingly disparate cultures. Schumann becomes an honorary Brazilian and the result, given this performance, is enchanting.
American composer, Patrick Stoyanovich, (b. 1962) studied with Jacob Druckman and Gunther Schuller. His Seven Short Pieces for oboe and piano take about nine and a half minutes in performance. At once sharp-edged and atmospheric, they are a study in elegantly subtle thematic development underpinned by jazz harmonies and rhythmic dislocations, all effortlessly negotiated by DeAlmeida and dePretoro.
Leone Sinigaglia (1868–1944) moved in 1894 from his native Turin to Vienna, where he hobnobbed with such notables as Brahms, Goldmark, and Mahler. He eventually became a student of Dvo?ák. His
Twelve Variations on a Theme by Franz Schubert,
for oboe and piano, is based on Schubert’s Lied,
. DeAlmeida and dePretoro tease out all the innocence and pathos to be found in Schubert’s miniature universe.
Jan Freidlin was born in Southern Siberia in 1944. He currently teaches at the Levinsky College of Music in Tel Aviv.
Mist Over the Lake
, for oboe and guitar, is his “musical reflection of a real and fantastic natural scene” to quote the liner notes. To that I add: all too delicious, and all too brief.
The musical profiles of the remaining and better-known composers are brightly drawn in these performances. Special kudos to guitarist James Ferla. His elegant work in the Freidlin and Coste pieces did much to unearth their subtle flavors and fragrances. As an unrepentant guitar aficionado, I know how easily Coste’s music, if not given correct tempo and inflection, can descend into mere note spinning. Here it comes across as musical poetry.
It is apparent that DeAlmeida is not merely working with musical collaborators, but with friends. Otherwise, how does one account not only for their nearly perfect ensemble, but for their, for want of a better phrase, musical magic. My original ending line to this review was: With such luminaries as Harold Gomberg and Bert Lucarelli ringing in my ears, DeAlmeida is a contender. It should have been, as it is now: she has arrived.
Crystal’s production values all around are up to their typically high standards.
FANFARE: William Zagorski