“The Music on the Hill” series at Northside Baptist Church present a series of trios performed by Olga Shpiko (violin), Yang-Yoon Kim (viola), and Jennifer Humphreys (cello).
The program consisted of:
Beethoven- String Trio Op. 9 No. 3 in C minor
Ramirez- Trajetas Latinas (world premier)
Dohnanyi- Serenade in C for String Trio
This was another recital that played to the acoustical strength of the Northside Baptist Chapel, which is perfectly suited for the viola and cello. Their warmth is complemented by the warmth of the sound environment in the church.
The Beethoven is a fairly early work in the master’s composing career. These three young artists had a few intonation problems, insecure rhythm, and bowing problems in the first movement, but once they warmed up, they played the beautiful lyrical adagio with wonderful tone and ensemble. The third movement Scherzo also had a bit of unsteady playing that again to lead into a masterful performance of the Presto finale.
The Juan Ramirez-Hernandez “Tarjetas Latinas” was played, with the composer’s consent, with the second movement first. Since this was a world premiere, there seemed to be eager anticipation in the audience. Ramirez’ work did not disappoint. The music begins with a traditional yet dark and melodic lullaby. The piece shows-off the warm and somewhat sad tones of the cello and viola. Both were played eloquently by Humphreys and Kim. The first movement, here played secondly, is a strong-dance rooted piece with rhythmic bowing and percussive sound effects. Ms. Humphreys even played the part of a drummer on the body of her instrument. The work uses pizzicato, quickly followed by bowing. Both the left and right hands of the players are kept very busy in this piece, which reflects a mix of Cuban and African styles.
Composer Ramirez was in attendance and signaled his pleasure with his Atlanta Symphony colleagues on their performance.
The final work on the program was the Dohnanyi Serenade. It is a lovely piece from a composer is rarely heard these days. He composed in a style heavily influenced by Brahms and the fourth movement andante is sumptuous with languorous melodies. The trio played brilliantly. Dohnanyi’s music would appear on my list of composers of whom I would like to hear more.
Hearing the Serenade reminded of my sixth grade English teacher, Mr. Myers. He was a dedicated instructor who thought nothing of standing up on his desk while reading Macbeth. He let the class know early on that his favorite composer was none other than Dohnanyi. One day he was so inspired that he brought his cello to class and played along with a recording one of the composer’s pieces. I appreciate Mr. Myers now more than ever.
The next “Music on the Hill” concert will be on March 4 at 3:00pm. Works by Chopin and Beethoven comprise the program.