Review by Danny Gaisin
Progress isn’t inevitably a better thing. Retrogression to something stylishly passé can still be operative and definitely satisfying. A salon-format concert harkens to the 17th century but the concept and natural intimacy is gratifying and especially desirable for aficionados and mild enthusiasts alike. A Saturday early evening recital at the Lakeshore Road home of Les & Nadine McLean featured two Metropolitan Opera musicians; violinist Elmira Darvarova and the viola talents of Ronald Carbone in an eclectic programme of works from the late 1600’s to almost contemporary composers. Photo courtesy of Tom Beese
The thirty-some guests were treated to brief works by Handel, Couperin; Mozart; Bach & Rameau as well as more recent pieces by Reger; Halvorsen; and Ysaÿe. The latter’s “Ballade” is a solo piece. Coincidentally (or maybe ‘not-so uncalculatedly), the composer was the great- grandfather of the evening’s hostess, and the reading of such a technically challenging work by Darvarova was spell-binding. Her performance approach is one of obviously intense concentration and perambulating ‘body English’. Hands; head; and stance are constantly in motion; her technique- faultless. This was most obvious in the ‘Courant’ by Handel, as well as during her solo offering.
Maestro Carbone’s instrument possesses almost visceral tonal warmth and his understated execution matches the instrument. Whether in pizzicato mode counterpointing Daravarova or during his powerful rendering of Max Reger’s suite no. 1; this audiophile was enthralled. From the opening rondo-rendition of Rameau’s ‘Tambourin’ to the familiar ‘Passacaglia* on a Handel theme’ by Halvorsen, the entire programme was memorable. The muse and I left humming the latter’s E-string melody for the entire ride back to Hamilton. Alas, Rhonda-the Honda has no radio or CD system!
Such a cosy way of enjoying the classics is not widespread and being afforded the opportunity is surely a desirable ‘perk’. Dear McLeans, we anticipate the next such opportunity. Sorry we missed a sampling of the ‘Strada-cake’!
* def.- a chaconne in ¾ time