About us / Contact

The Classical Music Network

New York

Europe : Paris, Londn, Zurich, Geneva, Strasbourg, Bruxelles, Gent
America : New York, San Francisco, Montreal                       WORLD

Your email :



KLR and Friends

New York
Tisch Center for the Arts
09/21/1999 -  
Franz Joseph Haydn: Trio Sonata in A
Joan Tower: Tres Lent
Moritz Moszkowski: Suite in G Minor
Antonin Dvorak: Piano Quintet

Jaime Laredo and Leila Josefowicz (violins), Michael Tree (viola), Sharon Robinson (cello), Joseph Kalichstein and Joan Tower (pianos)

The new season officially begins in New York on the night after Yom Kippur. All of the traders are back on Wall Street, lines are longer at restaurants, and it is impossible to find a parking space again until Memorial Day. The 92nd Street Y opened its 125th continuous season of chamber music (this series began the year that Arnold Schoenberg was born) by honoring the 25 years of service of its gifted artistic director Jaime Laredo. Laredo in turn introduced his protégé Leila Josefowicz to the New York audience in a controlled setting free from the circus atmosphere so often haunting young performers today. The Y is noted for the most intelligent audience in the city and also the best behaved. Unfortunately, it was apparent by the many empty seats last night that the graying of classical America is beginning to take its toll at the box office. There were virtually no audience members under 65 at this fine event and that does not bode well for the future of up-and-coming artists like Ms. Josefowicz.

The program opened with vintage KLR. In my mind this trio has the most unified sound in chamber music today. Not only are the three members exceptional performers and possessors of amazingly rich tones (especially Ms. Robinson) but they seem to breathe together like wind players rather than string and keyboard artists. Of course Mr. Laredo and Ms. Robinson are husband and wife and so there is an intimate knowledge of each other’s phrasing techniques, but whenever I hear this marvelous trio I remember how much more satisfying their totality of performance is versus a set of soloists masquerading as a chamber ensemble, so often the case when headliners get together at more splashy arenas like Carnegie Hall.

Tres Lent is an homage to Olivier Messiaen and is filled with the requisite angst of contemporary classical music. Ms. Tower is obviously a very sincere compositional artist, packing her short slow movement with Webernesque quantities of emotional freight which make one wonder what an entire work centered around this slow movement would sound like. There is a fine line between homage and imitation, however, and Ms. Tower’s fondness for the Quartet for the End of Time might be a little overdone. There is no question that this was the definitive performance of this essentially marginal work, as Ms. Robinson plied her mellow tone through the excruciatingly long bowings of individual notes. Perhaps Trop Lent might have been a better title.

Twenty-year-old Leila Josefowicz has had a tremendous amount of ink in the past few years (as has Ms. Tower) and I am pleased to report that she is being "handled" very well. Her teacher is Mr. Laredo himself (through the Curtis Institute) and he here presented her as a chamber music partner. She is obviously being groomed not to be a mere virtuosa but rather an artist of a much higher level: a musician! She played brilliantly the fluff piece by Moszkowski that reminded one of Fritz Kreisler at his most sentimental and concentrated all of her obvious talent to meld nicely with the senior musicians in a spirited version of the mighty Dvorak quintet. Like a performance at Marlboro, here young people could be heard with experienced musicians and while looking at the stage I was gratified to see the torch being passed. Perhaps the most impressive feature of the young phenom is her posture. She actually sits up straight in her chair and listens to the others in the group (perhaps the hardest of all qualities to teach). While her peers are performing the Tchaikovsky and Mendelssohn concerti with big orchestras in an endlessly grinding cycle of mediocrity, she is on her way to being a true concert artist. My only hope is that there is still an audience for her musicality in the year 2020.

In the subway station on the ride home there was another fine violinist playing Vivaldi and Kreisler with a similar degree of proficiency. A large crowd gathered to hear his exceptional music making on a less than exceptional instrument. When the train came to take us all home, it was actually a disappointment. The crowd in the station was a much younger one, but was at least as eagerly appreciative. God, I love this city!

Frederick L. Kirshnit



Copyright ©ConcertoNet.com