Art’s Corner: IA Benefit Concert / Spring Musicale

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IA Benefit Concert / Spring Musicale, Ponderosa Hall

3 p.m. Sunday, May 29

Marion View Ensemble

Connie Kupka, violin; Jane Levy, viola; David Speltz, cello with guest artists Lisa Edelstein, flute; Heather Ness, violin (in the Haydn); and Daniel Levy, keyboard (in the Rachmaninoff)


String Quartet in D Major, Opus 20, No. 4 — Franz Joseph Haydn

Syrinx for Solo Flute — Claude Debussy

Duo for Violin and Cello, Opus 7 (final movement only) — Zoltan Kodaly

Vocalise, Opus 34, No. 14 (arranged for cello and piano) — Sergei Rachmaninoff

Quartet for Flute and String Trio in D Major, KV 285

— Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

The regularly scheduled annual benefit concert for Idyllwild Arts Academy took place somewhat later than usual this year, whether resulting from the school’s own scheduling (since the graduation ceremonies took place the day before) or from possible weather considerations. Nevertheless, the Ponderosa Concert Hall’s pleasant surroundings proved a more-than-suitable location for the afternoon’s proceedings, and a capacity audience was on hand for an experience in music appreciation in its best aspect.

Beginning with the early D Major Haydn quartet, the Marion View Ensemble, admirably supported by IA’s own Heather Ness in a strong subsidiary role, put forward an emphatic and well-rounded effort in the outer movements (particularly in the fun-filled final “presto”), while first violinist Connie Kupka’s introductory explication of the second movement’s designation of  “affettuoso” proved justified in as romantic a reading as possible, which, together with the third movement’s gypsy stylings, unified the work as a more than satisfactory starting point.

And in the afternoon’s final large-scale work, which should be noted as one of Mozart’s best early compositions, as well as proof that the composer did not have a distaste for the flute as a leading instrument (either in an ensemble or an orchestral setting), guest artist Lisa Edelstein was more than equal to the task of providing a leading voice to the string complement, particularly in the middle adagio movement where, although Mozart did not so designate it as another “affettuoso” a la Papa Haydn, it was hard for this listener at least not to disassociate that quality from the overall effect, and once again, the outer movements were distinguished by solid execution from all concerned.

The shorter numbers on the program only seemed to be significant in projecting the particular qualities of the concert space, as well as the exemplary playing of the individuals involved. Ms. Edelstein’s interpreting of the solo flute piece by Debussy was remarkable for her projection of the various flute techniques necessary for the overall impressionistic effect, without an over-emphasis on either volume or tonal projection.

Likewise, the excerpt from the Kodaly Duo permitted a balance for both violin and cello sonorities, which could easily have been spoiled by the hall’s pre-eminent disposition for lower frequencies; both players obviously had to readjust  both to the venue as well as to the composer’s wishes.

And Leonard Rose’s cello and piano arrangement of the familiar Rachmaninoff work proved a boon to both Mr. Speltz and Mr. Levy’s interpretive talents, with the latter providing electronically accomplished vibraphone and celesta timbres to the vocal line of the violoncello.

In all, a splendid afternoon’s entertainment, reinforced by a warm (though partly cloudy and breezy) day, and a further encouragement to IA patrons to seek out every and all opportunities at venues for live music of matchless interpretive quality.

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