Reviews from the Baltimore Sun

In a taut performance of Beethoven’s Op. 74, the Atlantic String Quartet, made up of Baltimore Symphony Orchestra players, demonstrated the kind of inter-communication skills that characterize full-time chamber ensembles. (2004)

The bulk of the recital was devoted to sonatas for violin and piano. Joining Graf was Lee-Chin Siow, whose own formidable gifts assured a lively dialogue. The violinist’s burnished tone, firm technique and tasteful phrasing provided continual pleasure, as did Graf’s own expressive power and second-nature partnering. (2005)

Thomas Benjamin’s Aperitif, a sweeping, ear-catching 1983 piece for violin, cello and piano, was boldly delivered. Elegant playing lifted a violin/cello duet by Haydn; vivid phrasing brought a 1939 horn/piano sonata by Heiden to life. And Mendelssohn’s C minor Trio received an often stirring account. (2005)

The pianist (Reinecke) delivered compelling tonal weight where it counted most, as in the emphatic close of the first movement or the darkest shadows of the second, and poured on the warmth for the tender-hearted repose at the center of the scherzo movement. Yuzefovich and Skoraczewski matched each other for richness of sound, vitality of phrasing. They dug into the music’s lower epidermis, getting at the emotional vibrancy of Brahms. (2005)

Katherine Needleman, the BSO’s sterling principal oboist, gave an imaginative recital last Friday for the Music in the Great Hall series at Towson Unitarian Universalist Church. She brought her familiar tonal warmth and technical shine to a program that included the world premiere of David Ludwig’s mercurial, vividly colored Pleiades: Seven Microludes for Oboe and Piano (written for Needleman). Amy Klosterman was the oboist’s excellent accompanist. (2005)

Jacobowitz and Mahonske collaborated on a tight, colorful performance of the exceedingly clever Hillendale Waltzes by the underappreciated Victor Babin. Phyllis Tate’s moderately interesting Sonata for clarinet and cello found Jacobowitz and Thron in close rapport. The cellist’s intonation wandered in Stravinsky’s Suite Italienne, but Mahonske was again a vivid partner. (2006)

Moeller’s playing was especially potent here, as well as earlier in the program at Towson Unitarian Universalist Church, when the ensemble gave a vibrant account of Borodin’s Quartet No. 1 in A major. (2007)

… did not keep Loup from communicating incisively, no where more so than in his wistful, soft-grained phrasing of Fruhlingstraum. Mahonske tellingly conveyed the wealth of nuances in the vital piano part. (2008)

Many deft touches characterized the singer’s performance of the Poulenc and Barber songs, and Markovic-Prakash proved to be just as compelling an interpreter of the great spirituals woven together in the Carter work. Throughout the recital, Mahonske played superbly. He relished Poulenc’s every piquant harmonic shift and produced many a subtle tonal coloration. He took full advantage of the substantial keyboard codas in the Tchaikovsky songs — the way he articulated each rolling chord at the end of the searing “Why?” spoke volumes. (2009)

A highlight of the afternoon was his lyrical touch in Schubert’s “Arpeggione”; the wistful quality he generated in the subdued closing measures proved particularly telling. Goldstein was well-partnered in that work, as throughout the concert, by the ever-reliable pianist Clinton Adams. The two musicians caught the boldness and beauty of Beethoven’s A major Sonata and tapped the romantic charms of some pieces by Schumann. (2010)

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