Chamber Music in NY City alive and well.

October 22, 2014

I attended three Chamber Music Recitals this Month. The Lehman Chamber Players, with Anton Miller, Violin, Rita Porfiris, Viola, Hamilton Berry, Cello, Alan Hollander, Oboe and Diana Mittlr-Battipaglia, Piano and Department Chair. New York Flute Club with Paul Lustig Dunkel and New York University/Steinhardt, Department of Music Performing Arts Professions: Flute Faculty recital, Robert Dick, Brad Garner, Son-Kyung Park, Gary Schocker and Keith Underwood.

Just wanted to say I learned something at each recital and my impression was that to be a musician is a life time study and adventure. One never really knows where it is all going.

What is interesting that the view point of each concert took in their own perspective and interest.

So one cannot listen to music just with one set of ears they have to change and accept each situation for what it is. I even watched a documentary (PBS) about John Lennon's life and was impressed by his commitment to his art. He composed the harmony first, melody second and continually changed the words at the final take in the recording session. Because he had so much money he could sit in the recording studio for weeks and work out his music there. Not unlike classical musicians who maybe only have a few hours of recording. In many cases I don't respect pop artist musical ability but in this case John understood music.

The Lehman Chamber Players performed a traditional classical concert except for one piece.

Schubert, Dubois and Dvorak. Dubois who composed in the early 1900 wrote a piece that was just great especially the orchestration of it. He didn't use off beat rhythms or harmony but voiced the instruments in such a way that gave it such a big sound and strong. It was Quintet for Oboe, (also flute or clarinet) Violin, Viola, Cello and Piano. Diana got a great sound out of the piano to blend in with the others but not over power the group. All the string players were up to par and knew their parts. I especially enjoyed the viola performer, but how can one pick out one in an equal performance?

I wish the music department would update the recital hall it is long overdue and I hope they request it because the lighting and colors were very drab and not a place for joyful music.

Paul Lustig Dunkel as Arranger, Composer and Flute Virtuoso performing on a Powell Flute, but he has two Haynes Flutes too.

You know I have always had a problem connecting with performers who only performed other people's music and one that also contributes to music history. For to make music is not to just to repeat the past but to contribute to the here and now. Paul told me that he liked new music and made it a big part of his musical life. He arranged two pieces for flute and piano one from Debussy and one from Shostakovich. I enjoyed the Shostakovich piece more. Just a personal opinion He picked the cello to flute because the cello has the same range as the flute but different octaves. I was a little confused by this piece because it didn't sound like the traditional Debussy with his whole tone sounds, it most have been an early piece of Debussy. What I liked was it has never been performed before in this version. After all is this not what all the great composer did perform pieces for the first time? He said it was important for flutist to expand the music for flute.

The Audience enjoyed the piece for trap set and flute by Tony Moreno. The flute part and the drum parts were all written out, it wasn't a jazz performance even though parts of it could be called jazz in a way. Tony played a drum solo that got the attention of the audience and got almost a standing ovation. Now for a group of senior citizens standing up is not an easy thing to do. I watched them walk up and down the stairs for the hall is a two hundred sit concert hall that doubles as a lecture hall with steps slanting down to the stage. (Lehman needs such a recital hall for their music department.) Paul was not a show off player, I mean trying to bring a lot of attention to himself, his interest was the music and the concert that gave the public something new to listen to, but at the same time have some tradition in it so they could relate to the music. Of course he accomplished his vision.

He had flutes, strings, percussion in his concert to bring the orchestration element into his presentation. I so enjoyed this. The real highlight for me was the Flute Quartet that he composed using a few known themes. But he spoke of the level of performance abilities by the modern day young flutist and they were extremely high which his group and composition certainly proved this to be true. Since he performed in many orchestras his sense of orchestration is very strong.

The blending of the flutes and sounds was very smooth and nice to listen to and showed a lot of knowledge on his part.

I told Paul it was the best recital I heard in the last four years of all the flute events I attended.

I sent him e-mail and he told me this was his last concert due to his age and physical condition. I hopes he works on those issues and returns to the recital hall in some form.

NY University Flute Concert

I asked Brad Garner why are there so many flute teachers? He said there are a lot of flute students. He performed two pieces on an extended flute composition with all the latest overtone effects, slapping of the keys. And other techniques from that new tradition that was created in the last 20 or thirty years. I personally am not impressed by it for if one needs harmony just use another flute or more. Being a double woodwind performer myself I have learned not to respect it so much for music is such a deep subject that one instrument is enough to study one's entire life. This is not totally true for Bach played keyboards, violin and recorder. So did Mozart play several instruments, Piano and Violin.

Anyway I have gotten into arguments about this subject so it is a very personal decision. Just because it is my decision for one cannot go beyond Bach and Handle no matter how hard one tries. I told Brad that he looked like an accountant in his suit: from Contemporary Music to a pop flute Fantasie by Wilhelm Popp that was like back ground music to 1920 movies. He has a great sense of humor and wasn't upset by my statement. Anyway it was a great choice for this concert with so many flutist presenting their version of music. And each Flutists had their own style of playing and music to go along with it. For me this was so interesting to watch and listen too. Even the dress was off beat from Tennis Shoes to formal wear to just white and black shirts.

Lady Gaga lives at New York University.

Gary Schocker who has a beautiful warm tone played two pieces too. One very romantic and smooth and the other a Latin feel kind of pop feel, but still in the classical tradition, with Keith Underwood playing the second part. A great contrast to the other pieces.

You know they found a 40,000 year old flute in Germany some years back so the flute has been around for a long time. Only now the flute is getting its true place in the musical world along with the violin.

Keith Underwood's group performed the traditional Baroque piece for two Traversos, Bassoon and Harpsichord was the opening piece on the program. Of course a very pleasant piece to start off the program. I really liked the Bassoon player he was puffing away on it with great zeal. Clay Zeller Thompson and playing a Bassoon from the time period. A pleasant contrast to the total recital.

I have heard about Robert Dick for two or three years now and have watched some of his videos on YouTube. And these videos and even his master classes doesn't tell who Robert Dick really is.

For one has to hear him in concert like I did last night.

He was simply amazing and terrific as I told him. His first piece was by Sigrid Karg-Elert called Sonata “Appassionata” and this was the perfect piece for Robert because he is passionate about his music. It was a solo piece with a lot of technical difficulty and showed his true virtuosity.

Once I attended one of his master classes. I didn't get this at all, but now I get it. This is why I decided I do not like Master Classes for they are not a true representation of the participants or the teacher. Whatever happened to private lessons?

His second piece was an improvisation for Glissando Flute which he developed himself. He wanted to get into the rock age from what he said or allow the flute to play rock solos like the guitar can. He did create new sounds for the flute and demonstrated all the effects he could from it. Just thought somehow he has to develop a group to go along with it.

But his classical performing is at a high level and stands along with all the other flutist too.

Soo-Kyung Park, Flute: My impression of her was if you were having a gala evening with gowns,

tails, and aristocracy Soo-Kyung would be the flutist to have there. Her dress was upper class and her manners were supreme and her face was a perfect reflection of her character. Her playing an interpretation of Lukas Foss Music was the same. She kept playing without effort too which amazed me. I wish I could do that but maybe I am a little too old for that. I was surprised that the Lukas Foss piece wasn't too modern just kind of a normal modern piece nothing too special but very nice.

I hope you enjoyed my review of these three concerts. I so enjoyed attending all of these events.

Sincerely, Greg Henry Waters

Composer of Classical and Jazz Music

For more information!