The great French composers, Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel represent the glory of French early 20th century music. The gorgeous and exciting music they wrote influenced generations of composers that followed, creating an impact heard in the musical language of today.
Le Salon de Musiques, founded and directed by the French pianist, Francois Chouchan gave its sixth concert of their season this past Sunday, March 10th 2013 at 4pm at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion's fifth floor.
This current season has been a resounding success bringing in larger audiences for each concert, and featuring many US premiers of newly discovered works from the late 19th century. This past Sunday's concert however, was one of the most enjoyable so far.
Heard on the program was Ravel’s Piano Trio in A minor and two works by Debussy: the Cello Sonata in D minor and the Violin Sonata in G minor. These works were performed by three internationally acclaimed artists who teach and perform in Los Angeles: Phillip Levy on violin, Andrew Shulman on cello, and Rina Dokshistky on piano.
Excellent introductory remarks were given by the musicologist, Julius Reder Carlson. He gave musical illustrations, and explained the revolutionary changes Ravel and Debussy made in our music, forever changing how we hear melody, harmony and its resolution.
The concert then opened with Debussy’s Cello Sonata in D minor, performed by Andrew Shulman on cello and Rina Dokshistky on piano. Andrew Shulman's masterful cello playing, was a delight. At one point he brought gasps to the audience to play pizzicato notes that flew off his instrument. Rina Dikshistky, a virtuoso pianist in her own right, was a magnificent accompanist, playing with the piano lid fully open for all three pieces.
Violinist Phillip Levy then joined the stage to perform with Rina Dokshistky in Debussy’s Violin Sonata in G minor. Levy engaged the audience with his own comments about the Sonata and vocal effects Debussy wanted from the violin, making the audience laugh with his wicked wit. He performed with effortless artistry and a beautiful singing line on the violin. Dokshistky on piano, accompanied with exciting dynamics and tonal colors.
The concert concluded with Ravel’s Piano Trio in A minor. This work in four movements has elements of Jazz, Blues and Flamenco. Rina Dokshistky though a diminutive and slender woman, played Ravel's complex music with galvanic power. Phillip Levy made his melodic lines soar, and Andrew Shulman on cello brought fiery intensity to his part.
These exceptional artists proved to be a formidable ensemble, performing Ravel's masterpiece with hypnotic magic. Fortunately, the concert was video-taped and recorded. If you are a searching for a definitive recording of Ravel’s Piano Trio in A minor, this is the one to get.
An informal conversation between the musicians and the audience followed the performance, while sipping French Champagne and enjoying a gourmet buffet prepared by Patina.
The next concert will take place on April 14, 2013. For tickets and other information: