Peter Sanders - Artistic Director
FESTIVAL HARVEST CD RECEIVES RAVE REVIEW!
December 2, 2005
By Jim Lowe, Times Argus, VT Staff
The Central Vermont Chamber Music Festival has come a long way since it was founded in 1993 by Peter Sanders, a New York cellist who grew up spending his summers in the Randolph area. An indication of just how far is its excellent new CD, "Festival Harvest," a compilation of live performances of works by Mendelssohn, SchÃ¶nberg and Frank Bridge at the Chandler Music Hall in 2000 and 2004.
When I first heard the album, I had recently heard an excellent performance of Mendelssohn's A Major String Quintet at Vermont's justly revered Marlboro Music Festival. The same work opens this CD, and I actually preferred the Randolph performance. That's big praise.
The superlative performance on this album is led by Arturo Delmoni. The New York violinist plays with lyricism and an old-style elegance, a restrained passion and virtuosity, that gives it infinitely more power than today's easy passion would. His tone is beautiful â€¦quot; and violinist Erica Kieswetter, violists Calvin Wiersma and David Cerutti, and cellist Sanders match him. Sanders sounds particularly good in this.
Of course, the performance lacks the cohesiveness of purpose and playing of a longstanding ensemble, but it's absolutely fine playing, a very exciting performance of a real masterpiece.
Another masterpiece is Arnold SchÃ¶nberg's "VerklÃ¤rte Nacht (Transfigured Night)," heard here in its original version for string sextet. Recorded in 2000, violinists Kieswetter and Basia Danilow, violists Cerutti and Katherine Anderson, and cellists Sanders and Roger Shell have a rich, string sound, very sensual and very nuanced.
In this haunting work, where late Romanticism meets Modernism, the performance is a knowing one, an understanding one and a feeling one. The intensity and excitement are palpable; it's a convincing performance of a very complex masterpiece.
Much more than SchÃ¶nberg, English composer Frank Bridge (1879-1941) combined late Romantic and early Modern. His Trio No. 1 in c minor ("Phantasie Trio") is neo-Brahms in the grand manner. It's a big Romantic piece with more modern harmonic language, albeit traditional rhythmically.
Performed in 2004, the playing by pianist Michael Boriskin, violinist Jeffrey Multer and cellist Sanders is very robust with big Romantic piano and passionate but warm violin and cello, espressivo and virtuosic. There's no subtlety and no place for it â€¦quot; it's big and brash and beautiful.
The whole album is a delight from beginning to end. It's a nice tribute to our community that we attract such musicians who choose to develop here. These same musicians didn't sound this way when they first came here 12 years ago; the level of playing is incredibly high throughout.
Check out the artist's website:
1. Mendelssohn String Quintet in A major, Op. 18 - Allegro con moto
2. Intermezzo (Andante sostenuto)
3. Scherzo (Allegro di molto)
4. Allegro Vivace
5. Schoenberg - Verklarte Nacht, Op. 4
6. Bridge Phantasie Trio in c minor - Andante con molto espressione
7. Allego scherzoso - Allegro moderato