A short entry this time. May 27 at 5 PM - back at the lovely Agro Hall of the Kazan State Agricultural Academy for an evening of a "Panorama of Styles".
One thing that added to the evening's offerings was watching the progress of large and exceptionally panoramic thunderstorms that moved over the city (and by extension the theater) and dumped a tremendous amount of rain in a very short time, but really did nothing to cool the still-high temperatures. However, great counterpoint to the evening's bill of fare.
Things began with Tatar composer Ilham Baitiryak's "From the book Kisek Bash" for basset horn and chamber orchestra. This is a beautiful tone poem that was wonderfully performed by young Tatar hornist Alexander Vintilin, with fine orchestral playing by the Ensemble of New Music and especially sensitive leadership from conductor Tatar Anna Gulishambarova. The Ensemble is loaded with good young players with a few experienced ringers thrown in. Especially lovely work by the concertmaster and the principal horn, in duets with the solo horn.
Next up was the Lumina Quartet, this time presenting a marvelous quartet by Dan Cooper and Ron Mazurek's terrific Chants for String Quartet. This part of their evening's offering was also highlighted by Tatar composer Almaz Monasypov's lovely arrangement of Ave Maria for violin, cello, clarinet and piano. Next came Rezeda Ahiyarova's marvelous "The Witness from New York" for the same instruments. I think we could all use a bit more of this kind of witnessing.
This was followed by a domra trio with piano, performing "Event" by Tatar composer Rif Ilyasov. Well, Rif gave us plenty of good riffs along with some well-placed dissonance and rhythms that made this music more fun than a barrel of Moscow Circus monkeys. Fine ensemble from the three young domra ladies. More about domras at http://www.balalaika.org/instr.htm.
After this came Russian Leonid Rezetdinov's Five Pieces for clarinet, violin and piano. Some nice moments, but not much more. The third of the pieces was the most interesting, with a nice gimmick at the end of having the non-pianists play the last two notes.
Lumina ended this wide-ranging concert with Gershwin's delicate and ethereal Lullaby in its string quartet incarnation and Gene Pritsker's curiously named but great "Falls to with an Appetite" - a serenade for clarinet and string quartet. This young composer (http://www.genepritsker.com/index.html) has a great ear for string sonorities and made the most of this instrumental combination. Some truly exceptional music here that the quartet and Phillip Bashor really made the most of. We'll have a review of this piece by Kazan writer and composer Oleg Lubivetz in a future report.