My concert season started this past Saturday, September 15, with a vocal recital by baritone Jesse Blumberg and pianist Jocelyn Dueck at Benzaquen Hall, one of several performance/rehearsal spaces in the DiMenna Center for Classical Music on West 35th Street in Manhattan. The performance marked the launch of Dueck's project, "The Center for Language in Song," which is intended to assist young vocal artists in developing the insights into text and music that support great performances.
The program was really choice: Ravel's Histoires Naturelles, Barber's Melodies Passageres, and Schumann's Dichterliebe. I was especially eager to hear Jesse Blumberg, a favorite musician of mine, sing the Schumann, one of my favorite musical compositions.
I was warned upon arrival that Jesse was recovering from a bad cold and had dragged himself out of bed in order to perform. But you couldn't prove that by the performance. He sounded spectacularly involved, present, and in particularly good voice. Jesse was the ideal person to help launch the Center, because he sings with that devotion to text that marks the most effective singers of art song. Jocelyn Dueck, who made great contributions to the round of premiere performances of the Five Boroughs Songbook, a project that Jesse spearheaded through his Five Boroughs Music Festival, also proved an excellent collaborator for these three very different composers' music.
For more information about the Center project, see www.thecenterforlanguageinsong.com.
So my season is well launched. I had attended the last two programs of the Mostly Mozart Festival in August, but never got around to writing about them on this blog, as I was caught up with obligations attendant to beginning the fall semester at New York Law School and have not had time to pay attention to refreshing this blog with new posts. In retrospect, I think that the final program of the Mostly Mozart season was probably the best of the entire festival – or at least of the 6 out of 8 programs that I managed to attend. Martin Frost playing the Mozart Clarinet Concerto with Langree leading the orchestra, followed by Beethoven's Mass in C in a rendition that emphasized the drama that Beethoven found in the Latin mass, left indelible impressions.
My time continues to be at a premium, but I hope to resume posting more frequently. The blog is also being redesigned and will be transferred to a new home soon. Details to follow.