Performers at the OMF in Quilcene on Aug. 20-21, 2011, were violinists Jessica Lee and Emily Deans, violist Alan Iglitzin, cellist David Requiro, and pianist Julio Elizalde. The festival continues Aug. 27-28 and Sept. 3-4.
It takes a great work to withstand the exposure of two performances in successive Olympic Music Festival seasons. Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet is, happily, such a work, and it benefited from another hearing to balance the one I enjoyed, with minor reservations, last August.
The performers this time around were violinist Jessica Lee, violinist/violist Emily Deans, violist Alan Iglitzin (the only holdover from last year’s team), cellist David Requiro and pianist Julio Elizalde.
My only quibble with their predecessors’ efforts was that, while the darker aspects of the work’s first four movements were vividly realized, their somewhat measured treatment of the finale missed that movement’s almost Schubertian grace and lightness. Elizalde, whose part is essentially responsible for setting the movement’s tone, shaped it altogether more fluently and spontaneously, and as a result this wonderful finale had just the right combination of depth and relaxation.
The other substantial work on the program was Ravel’s Sonata for Violin and Cello, which concluded the first half in a performance by Lee and Requiro that caught both its elegance and the compelling vitality of its last movement.
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Framing the afternoon was a pair of string-and-piano performances by Deans and Elizalde. On viola, Deans offered a group of five Debussy songs arranged for that instrument and piano: “Pantomime,” “Paysage sentimental,” “Coqueterie posthume,” “Musique” and “Calmes dans le demi-jour.” They were helpfully introduced by Elizalde, and Deans then read an English version of the poems before each song.
This was a good idea, though I doubt whether listeners at the back of the barn gleaned much from her rather hushed enunciation. She played to much stronger effect.
But it was at the end of the program that the same duo really set the audience alight. Paul Schoenfield, who was born in Detroit in 1947, likes to inflect superficially “classical” styles with jazz, folk and klezmer elements. His Four Souvenirs, for violin or flute and piano, are a particularly hyper example: hyper-energetic in the opening Samba and closing Square Dance, hyper-sweet in the intervening Tango and “Tin Pan Alley.”
Backed up to the hilt by Elizalde, Deans cut a terrific dash through these pieces, playing them for all they are worth, which is quite a lot. It was good clean musical fun, and the audience loved it.
There are still two weekends left this summer to enjoy the Olympic Music Festival’s uniquely convivial blend of quality music-making with idyllic surroundings. On Aug. 27-28 the program includes the greatest of Brahms’ three piano quartets, the one in C minor, and the season ends the weekend of Sept. 3-4 with Mozart’s sublime D-major Sonata for two pianos and Ravel’s “La Valse.”
But as festival founder and director Iglitzin warned us before the music started, fundraising is dangerously short of where it needs to be to assure continuing viability for the series.
Information about the festival and donations: 360-732-4800, or www.olympicmusicfestival.org.
Bernard Jacobson: email@example.com