Thursday, October 7, 2010 'New Giya Kancheli Work In American Premiere By Ensemble Du Monde'

[Marlon Daniel, conductor]
October 5, 2010
Merkin Concert Hall, New York; October 2, 2010
“In the nine months since its January concert reviewed on this site, New York based Ensemble du Monde has experienced remarkable artistic growth under music director Marlon Daniel. There is a new solidity to the string tone as well cohesiveness of ensemble that imbues the playing with engaging liveliness. The Ensemble's strings were, for the most part, the providers of this evening's program.

“The concert began with Elgar's Serenade in E minor, a work notable for its clever interplay of dark and light moods, which were expertly relayed by the musicians, including some beautifully played first-chair violin solos. Russian clarinetist Julian Milkis was featured in the Andante from Mendelssohn's Clarinet Sonata in E-flat -- his tender playing made the composer's fetching melodies even more beguiling.”

“Kancheli's Night Prayers for Clarinet, Strings and Tape is a very slow, somber and subdued work that maintains a static, mournful atmosphere pretty much throughout its nearly 20 minutes -- a real test of patience on the part of the audience.” “The Ensemble du Monde musicians are to be commended for maintaining the intense concentration required to play this music with such extreme quietness (according to Milkis, Kancheli marked parts of the score quintuple piano).”

“Following intermission Daniel led the Ensemble in a simply gorgeous rendition of Othmar Schoeck's blissful Sommernacht, after which a handful of wind instrumentalists joined the Ensemble for Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A, wherein Milkis proved himself a stylish and idiomatic Mozartian. He also proved himself a bit of a jazz player in the two encores: Joseph Myroff's jazz-inflected Nocturne, where Milkis produced those exciting raw sounds you'd associate with Benny Goodman, and Gershwin's easy-strolling Promenade, which provided ample opportunity for Milkis to show off some schmaltz. The audience responded with a (now customary these days) standing ovation. Victor Carr jr

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