Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sergio Mims: San Francisco Classical Voice: Violinist Tai Murray Shows Depth in Eclectic Recital

Tai Murray

Sergio A. Mims writes:

I know you and your readers will be very interested in this review of a recent concert by Tai Murray in Oakland:

San Francisco Classical Voice

October 13, 2014

By all accounts, violinist Tai Murray has led a charmed life. After appearing with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the ripe old age of 9, she attended Indiana University and then Juilliard. Dubbed “superb” by The New York Times, Murray has played such illustrious venues as the Barbican, Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens, and Shanghai’s Concert Hall. And now she has, at last, achieved hipster glory by playing in downtown Oakland. Joined by pianist Ángel Sanzo, she performed a delightfully eclectic program on Saturday in a recital at Holy Names University.

Both the program and the musicians reflected strong, global influences. While Murray resides in New York and Berlin, Sanzo hails from Spain. Their classical interpretations played upon diverse music ranging from American jazz to Javanese gamelan.

The artists’ chemistry was evident from the first moments. Sanzo’s technical prowess provided a smooth backdrop for the ebb and flow of Murray’s effervescent performance. Where Murray evoked lightness and excitement, Sanzo offered a bold, even tone. Amid the emotional swellings of Debussy and John Corigliano, Murray was occasionally overwhelmed by Sanzo’s resolute octaves. Nonetheless, Sanzo consistently played second fiddle (so to speak) to Murray during her lilting solos.

The program began with Debussy’s Violin Sonata in G Minor, the last piece he composed and premiered in public, in 1917. The duo brought to life the rich, multicultural influences that shaped Debussy’s oeuvre, from the Javanese gamelans that inspired him at an early age to the Spanish motifs that pervaded this work. Murray and Sanzo captured the fragility of this atmospheric piece, with Murray’s velvety vibrato and lyrical touch providing a stark counterpoint to Sanzo’s rich tone, emphasizing the semi-dissonant harmonies. Murray flaunted brilliant clarity of tone, exhilarating the audience during rapid passages. 

No comments: