Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Afternoon Concert with Vento Chiaro

We really have spoiled ourselves this weekend.  We are just back from a fabulous trip to NYC, and today we continued our prolonged fun weekend with a lunch at the restaurant I work at followed by a concert given by Vento Chiaro.  Lunch was fantastic.  We were taken care of so well by my coworkers, and we felt like such VIPs.  The food, ambiance, service, wine, and cheese were all magnificent.  The concert was an equally wonderful way to cap off the afternoon.

Vento Chiaro is a woodwind quintet based here in Boston.  They have accomplished a lot in their time together since 1997 gaining recognition from The New York Concert Artists' Guild, Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, and Coleman Chamber Music Competition. They are in residence at Tanglewood in the summers.  Whew!  Woodwind quintets don't usually make it professionally just because of the lack of great repertoire, whereas there is no dearth of amazing string quartet music. However, after hearing them today, it was pretty obvious to me why they are doing so well managing to make a case for the ensemble as a viable medium for composers to take more seriously. By looking at the their website it also looks like they have done a fair amount of premieres and commissions.  Their concert was a lovely balanced affair with just the right amount of serious and fun music for a Sunday afternoon.

The program consisted of music by Ibert, Ravel, Rossini, and a (new to me) work by Chinese composer, Chen Yi.  I liked that a member of the ensemble verbally introduced each work performed succinctly and intelligently.  The playing, of course, was also delightful.  Flutist, Joana Goldstein, and clarinetist, Benjamin Seltzer played a lovely duet in the second movement of the Ibert sensitively accompanied by the rest of the group.  I thought hornist, Ann Howarth, really shined in the Rossini quartet showing off some pretty flashy technique and a lovely singing tone.  Sophie Campesino's oboe work in the Mason Jones arrangement of Le Tombeau de Couperin by Ravel was also lovely.  Her playing in the Menuet was the best I'd heard it played, rising to the tricky high notes with ease and finesse.  And last but not least, I was also really impressed with basoonist, Sarah Gardner's solid sense of intonation and rhythm that served as the rock solid foundation that held the group together.

I'll look forward to hearing another performance sometime soon by the group. They were kind enough to comp our tickets today, but I certainly wouldn't have minded paying the price of admission.  It was rare and wonderful treat to hear a woodwind quintet making such beautiful music together.  I left feeling inspired to play more chamber music over the coming months, and hope that I can achieve the same fluidity of sound that they played with today!

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