Con Faculty Kick Off Season with Mixture of Classical, Jazz
It’s official: the Con’s proliferation of concerts has begun. Oboe Professor Alexandre Klein and other faculty inaugurated the 2007-2008 Faculty Chamber Music Series last Saturday at Warner Concert Hall. The repertoire ranged from Baroque to the standard Mozart Quartet to one of Claude Bolling’s jazz-classical hybrids, altogether delivering at top form a sampler of oboe flavors across the years.
Pieces performed included Giuseppe Sammartini’s Sonata in G Major (Catalina Guevara Klein, baroque bassoon; Webb Wiggins, harpsichord) and oboe legend Antonio Pasculli’s “Homage a Bellini” for English horn and harp, featuring Klein on English horn and guest performer Rita Costanzi on harp.
“Homage a Bellini,” featuring themes reminiscent of Bellini’s “Il Pirata” and “La Sonnambula,” was preceded by another Romantic selection, Robert Schumann’s Fantasy Pieces for oboe d’amore and piano (Klein, clarinet; Peter Takács, piano).
Mozart’s Oboe Quartet K. 370 for oboe and strings (Marilyn McDonald, violin; Peter Slowik, viola; junior Steuart Pincombe, cello) proved yet again to be sufficiently peaceful. The quartet commanded the pastoral piece of buoyant rose hues. McDonald, Slowik and Pincombe applied this in small stippling motions in the Allegro, plush sweeps in the Adagio and, in the final movement, McDonald’s violin played a joyous game of catch-and-release with the principle.
The piece by Bolling, a crowd favorite, was four selections from his Suite 1 for Flute and Jazz Trio.
Dubbed the French Gershwin, Bolling broke into professional piano playing at the age of 14 and based his professional career on the jazz standards, with swing and ragtime accents.
While acclaimed for his technical skill – he’d left Louis Armstrong waxing lyrical in his wake – Bolling is best known for his classical-jazz crossovers. Among these is Suite 1 for Flute and Jazz Piano Trio (1975), seven movements incorporating jazz stylings on a Baroque scaffold.
Suite 1 was first performed by Bolling himself and its dedicatee, ace flautist Jean-Pierre Rampal, at Carnegie Hall. The CBS record stayed No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard jazz chart for 464 weeks; it stayed on the charts for ten years.
Saturday’s performance featured Klein playing the flute part on oboe, Sanford Margolis on piano, Michael Rosen on drums, and Peter Dominguez on bass.
Klein shone in “Sentimentale,” a movement that retained its coy flutterings despite the changes in timbre but grew inexplicably more sensuous throughout.
The quartet finished exhuberantly with “Veloce,” a generous jazzy joke. Encored by the full house, Klein concluded the recital with a variation of “Flight of the Bumblebee,” backed by jazz trio.
The Faculty Chamber Music Series, now in its 14th season, showcases faculty talent each semester in concerts free and open to the public. This is only the first of such concerts for the 2007-2008 school year.