Gluzman and Yoffe inspiring and instinctive partners for Chamber Music Society

Tue Apr 30, 2019 at 10:13 am
By Edward Reichel

Vadim Gluzman and Angela Yoffe performed Sunday at Libby Gardner Concert Hall. Photo: Marco Borggreve

A concert by violinist Vadim Gluzman and pianist Angela Yoffe closed out the Chamber Music Society of Salt Lake City’s season Monday night.

Playing a wonderfully varied program spanning three centuries, the husband-and-wife duo displayed remarkable artistry and consummate musicality for the large audience in attendance in Libby Gardner Concert Hall. The musical and life partners were a pleasure to hear (and watch), since over the years they have fine-tuned their collaboration to the point of being instinctive and intuitive.

Gluzman and Yoffe opened the evening with Little Summer Music by the contemporary Latvian composer Peteris Vasks. The work is in six short movements, with the last being a modified version of the first. All of the movements are colorful and vibrant, imbued with a folk-like character. The music was played with flair and a light touch by both and captured the distinctive character of each movement.

From there, the musicians moved on to Beethoven’s cheery Violin Sonata in F major (“Spring”), Op. 24. The duo brought out the carefree lyricism of the first movement with their textured and nuanced playing, while underscoring the slightly darker and more intense development section that transitions into the recapitulation. In the slow movement, the two emphasized the tender expressiveness of the music with delicately crafted playing.

The short scherzo was given a light touch that brought out the fleeting character of the music while the finale was given a nuanced reading that was notable for the expressive poise and clear articulation.

After intermission, Gluzman and Yoffe gave a well-crafted reading of Igor Stravinsky’s charming Suite italienne. The suite consists of six movements from the composer’s ballet Pulcinella, which in turn is based on the music of the early 18th century composer Pergolesi. The music is witty yet retooled with Stravinsky Neo-Classical point and edge.

The duo captured the boldness of the opening movement with decisive playing, while bringing out the dramatic turn of the following Serenata.

They played the Tarantella with vigor that gave it an almost perpetual-motion feel. They contrasted that with a stately account of the Gavotta with its two variations, while concluding with a robust and rhythmically charged reading of the finale.

Violinist and pianist shifted gears after the Stravinsky and gave a profound, deeply moving perusal of “Nigun,” the second movement from Ernest Bloch’s Baal Shem suite. Gluzman put his heart and soul into his playing, seeming to turn the music into a personal statement of faith, bringing emotion, sincerity and finely expressed lyricism to his account. He was accompanied with great sensitivity by Yoffe throughout.

The concert concluded with an energetic reading of Maurice Ravel’s Tzigane. Gluzman played the lengthy violin solo opening with massive strokes that did justice to the bravura writing. Ravel demands a great deal from the violinist in terms of technique and musicianship and Gluzman delivered brilliantly. And even though Tzigane is a violin showpiece, Yoffe was also able to bring her technical chops to the fore with vigorous and dynamic accompaniment.

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