|Brahms:||Two Songs for Alto, Viola and Piano|
|Jan Hanush:||Little Suite, Op. 78|
Performers (partial list)
Kitt Reuter-Foss, mezzo-soprano
Katrin Talbot, viola
Jamie Schmidt, piano
John Aley, trumpet
Jennifer Morgan, oboe
In the unusual cafe-style setting of candlelit tables with food and drink Friday evening at the First Unitarian Society, the Oakwood Chamber Players and guest artists presented an entertaining program of both serious and not so serious music. Mezzo-soprano Kitt Reuter-Foss succeeded best, I thought, in the second of two songs for alto, viola and piano by Brahms, a wonderful lullaby, with excellent support from violist Katrin Talbot and pianist Jamie Schmidt. The Buxtehude Jubilate Domino, a setting of Psalm 98, opened the program and went well but for the heaviness of the accompanying instruments (cello, double bass and piano).
The first half of the program ended with Copland's Quiet City, for English horn, trumpet, and strings. Jennifer Morgan and John Aley were outstanding in this nine-minute gem, which catches the aura of the great metropolis in the brief lapse between the frenzy of night and the hustle of day. A string quintet is a little thin, I think, as a foundation for the solo parts. At least a couple more violins and another viola would have been better.
Dedicating a group of five Gershwin songs to her father on his birthday, Reuter-Foss showed another aspect to her great talents, and really put it away with "The Man I Love". Jamie Schmidt seemed entirely comfortable with the tricky idiom of Gershwin's settings.
Somewhere on a forgotten shelf lay Jan Hanush's Little Suite, Op. 78, collecting dust. Certainly an obscure composer, Hanush was born in 1915 and is still living. The suite is scored for flute, clarinet, french horn, trumpet, two violins and double bass. While it ended the concert on a cheerful and upbeat note, my own inclination, in retrospect, would have been to appreciate the dust undisturbed.
Isthmus, March, 1997
Copyright 1997 Jess Anderson