Saturday, May 23, 2009

William Grant Still's 'Suite for Violin and Piano' at Piccolo Spoleto's Spotlight Series Friday

[Afro-American Symphony; Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Karl Kruger, conductor; Bridge 9086 (1999)]

The Post and Courier
Charleston, South Carolina
Post and courier Reviewer
Saturday, May 23, 2009
It has been said that the violin is the instrument most capable of simulating the glory of the human voice. In Friday's premiere concert of Piccolo Spoleto's Spotlight Series, violinist Lee-Chin Siow and pianist Enrique Graf made a compelling argument in support of that statement with their performance. The concert, entitled "Songs My Mother Taught Me," after Dvorak's work, featured selections from Siow's debut album of the same title, and set the tone for what promises to be a winning 2009 Piccolo Spoleto. Siow and Graf began with Beethoven's Sonata in D Major. Their lyrical playing alternated between gentility and drama in one seamless transition after another.

Amy Beach's "Romance for Violin and Piano" followed, and it was here that Siow's elegant playing, particularly in the upper register, and Graf's artful and understated accompaniment, expanded the expressive possibilities beyond the Classical era. The next selection was William Grant Still's "Suite for Violin and Piano," a three-movement work inspired by sculptors. The first movement, "African Dancer," was characterized by its rhythmic intensity, ending in a demonic and virtuoso thrill for the captivated audience. The second movement, "Mother and Child," was calm and mesmerizing. The final movement, "Gamin," was a humorous and light-hearted end to the suite. [Full Post] The Piccolo Spoleto Festival 2009 takes place in Charleston, South Carolina from May 22 to June 7.

“Focusing primarily on artists of the Southeast region, Piccolo Spoleto is the perfect complement to the international scope of its parent festival and its 700 events in 17 days, transforms Charleston into an exhilarating celebration of performing, literary and visual arts.” “For more information, visit [Dr. Dominique-René de Lerma, Professor of Music, Lawrence University, Appleton, Wisconsin, has compiled a complete Works List which is found on the William Grant Still page at] William Grant Still's Gamin is performed on a new CD by the violinist which "is available at", the newspaper says.

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