Le Salon de Musqiues is expanding it's performance venues, from it's usual home at the 5th floor of the Dorothy Chandler pavilion and made it's debut at the Beverly Hills Country Club this past Thursday evening, Feb. 27th, 2014. The appreciative audience, filled the lovely front room of the club. The room's accoustics were good, and the grand piano provided was superb.
Opening the concert was Le Salon de Musiques’ resident musicologist, Julius Reder Carlson. Carlson's charm and eloquence is an essential feature of these events. His fascinating musical and historical information about Vienna in the early 19th century and Schubert, helped set the mood for the music.
French pianist and founder of the series, Francois Chouchan, was a featured performer this time, in two masterpieces by Schubert. In Schubert's Piano Trio No. 2 in E Flat Major, Chouchan performed along with co-director, John Walz (principal cellist of the LA Opera) and violinist, Jessica Guideri (Violin) Associate Concertmaster of the LA Opera orchestra.
These outstanding musicians, performed Schubert's lengthy and complex Trio in 4 movements, to great effect. They over flowed with emotion, virtuosic precision and sonic power, giving full life to Schubert’s masterpiece. Chouchan's tempos were perfect, his tone crystalline yet warm. John Walz's elegant playing well matched the passionate phrasing and warm tones of Guideri on violin.
The concert also featured Chouchan's sensitive accompanying of the young Baritone, David Castillo, in 9 selections from Schubert’s famous song cycle, Winterrriese (Winter Journey). Recently graduated from the USC School of Music, this was Castillo's first time performing with Le Salon de Musiques.
Considered one of the greatest song cycles, Schubert's "Winterriese," a song cycle of 24 songs, tells the story of a young man's sad journey of lost love.
Castillo has a light weight baritone voice with a pristine and gleaming timbre. His beautiful voice was used to advantage when he modulated from full voice, to very soft and tender, as needed in Schubert's songs.
Singing these lieder (songs) requires a vocal artist who has mastered the German language in order to convey their meaning, even to a non-German speaking audience. Castillo, however, was not quite ready for the challenge. While Castillo sang with musicality, it was not enough to compensate for his unconvincing German and diction. Even sitting up close to the singer, his consonants could hardly be understood. Along with this defect, his stiff manner and physicality detracted from the performance.
However, Chouchan and Castillo performed well as a team. Chouchan's accompaniment on the piano was heartfelt, displaying his expertise and deep connection to Schubert's music.
After the musical performance, the appreciative audience enjoyed a lively discussion with the musicians while being served French Champagne.
The Beverly Hills Country Club is also hosting Le Salon de Musqiues at their Calabasas location. For more information about that performance see: www.beverlyhillscc.com
Le Salon de Musiques' next concert is scheduled for Sunday, March 9th, 2014, 4pm. They perform at their usual venue: 5th floor of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. At the March 9th concert, will be the exciting USA premier of the 19th century romantic German composer, Schwarenka's Violin Sonata, Liszt Songs, and other masterworks.
For more information see: LeSalondeMusiques.com