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Felicja Blumenthal Festival reviews

31 במאי 2006

Published on the Jerusalem Post, 31 May 2006.


L’Arpeggiata (Austria). Direction: Christina Pluhar. The Felicja Blumenthal Festival.

Christina Pluhar (Photo: (Maxim Reider

Tel-Aviv Museum of arts. 23 May.

This was exactly the kind of concerts this country misses so much: a high-spirited and unusually creative musical evening, deviating from the regular repertoire completely. “L’arpeggiata” is to-date one of Europe’s finest ensembles of early music, specializing in the art of improvising in17th century’s France and Italy. Joined by singer Lucilla Galeazzi, Clarinetist Gianluigi Trovesi, and dancer Anna Dego, they gave an evening of sheer surprise and fun.

The program presented such ancient forms as Tarantella, Chiacona, Ricercar and more. All sounded fresh and crisp and reflected the performers’ deep-rooted stylistic knowledge and technical command. Galeazzi’s singing and presentation was a special treat, and so were Clarinetist Trovesi’s semi-improvisatory pieces. Surprised yet enchanted, the local crowd was somehow puzzled. On the one hand, they felt obliged to the strict etiquette associated with classical concerts; on the other, parts of it were so free and glitzy one simply couldn’t avoid unintentional clapping or singing along.

In the meager classic-romantic diet the Tel-Aviv audience is accustomed to, this was a glittering ray of freshness. Kudus should go to both the ensemble and those who brought it here.


Gala concert. Conductor: Yishai Steckler. The Felicja Blumenthal Festival. Tel-Aviv Museum of arts. 27 May.

Concluding an extremely successful festival, this Gala concert consisted of three distinct pieces performed by different musicians. The two opening arias by Mozart were sung by the coquette Alma Moshonov, whose sweet presentation very well covered for a certain unevenness of vocal projection. The arias preceded yet another Mozart piece, the rarely-performed Quintet for piano and wind instruments. Superbly performed by five local musicians, this piece was probably the concert’s apex in terms of balance and technical aptitude.

The central piece for the evening was Michael Haydn’s Requiem; this piece substantially influenced Mozart’s famous requiem, but is far inferior to it. Although very well received by the enthusiastic audience, the reading was not free of problems. The 24-member Estonian “Voces Musicales” choir is indeed excellent, but was often too loud; I’m sure some further balance work could have easily fixed this problem. Unfortunately, the ad-hoc orchestra was also often too harsh. And, finally, none the four soloists left a special impression. Baritone Alexei Kanunikov seemed especially out of focus, and needed the conductor’s special attention. Despite the imperfections, however, one could not miss the sonorous, polished singing of the Estonian choir. It will be a pleasure to host this superb choir here again.

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