Sunday brings an embarrassment of musical riches

Gil Shahan and Denyce Graves will perform

Stage: theater, music, dance

October 16, 2003|By Tim Smith | Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC

At frequent intervals throughout the season, you can count on an awful pile-up. No, I'm not talking about the Baltimore Beltway, but the musical calendar. There's another collision heading our way on Sunday, when you can choose from an abundance of aural enticements. Unless there's an amazing advance in human cloning over the next few days, it will be impossible to catch them all, but it sure looks like it could be fun trying.

Blandine Rannou

Starting chronologically, there's a recital by Blandine Rannou, a highly regarded harpsichordist, presented by the French Embassy, part of a French baroque concert series this season in cooperation with the French American Cultural Foundation and An die Musik, the Baltimore classical recording retailer. Rannou, who is on the faculty of the Conservertoire National Superieur de Musique in Paris, has won numerous prizes in Europe for her insightful approach to the rich repertoire for the harpsichord.

Rannou's program will offer works by one of the giants of the French baroque, Jean-Philippe Rameau, whose music she has championed in concert and on disc. She has also chosen pieces by three other notable, if less familiar, composers of the day -- Antoine Forqueray (a favorite of the royal court), Jacques Duphly (a brilliant harpsichordist who slipped into sad obscurity during his own lifetime) and Joseph-Nicolas-Pancrace Royer (a fine musician and even more successful concert promoter).

Blandine Rannou will give her recital at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Walters Art Museum, 600 N. Charles St. Tickets are $20 ($12 for students). Call 410-385-2638.

Denyce Graves

The 4 o'clock hour offers at least two choices. Morgan State University will welcome one of today's most popular opera stars, mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves. With her luscious voice and movie-star glamour, Graves has become the reigning interpreter of the fatally attractive protagonists of Bizet's Carmen and Saint-Saens' Samson et Dalila. Accompanied by pianist Bradley Moore, she will sing an aria from that Saint-Saens opera, along with a group of English baroque pieces; art songs by Brahms, Henri Duparc and Manuel de Falla; and traditional spirituals. Graves will also include items from her recent recording The Lost Days: Music in the Latin Style.

The opportunity to hear a recital by a top classical vocal artist doesn't happen often enough in Baltimore, so this event recommends itself. Denyce Graves will sing at 4 p.m. Sunday at the Murphy Fine Arts Center, Morgan State University, 2201 Argonne Drive. Tickets are $35 to $45. Call 443-885-1522 or 410-481-7328.

Sundays at Central

At the same time, a few miles away, the Sundays at Central concert series will approach chamber music from two angles. The first will be via music for flute and bassoon; the second for violin, cello and piano.

The program will also provide something of a showcase for faculty artists from Towson University. Bassoonist Terry Ewell, chair of the school's music department, and flutist Laurel Ewell will give the Baltimore premiere of Night Whispers by Jonathan Leshnoff, a Towson University teacher whose compositions are enjoying considerable exposure across the country. The Baltimore Trio -- violinist Zoltan Szabo, cellist Cecylia Barczyk and pianist Reynaldo Reyes -- will also be featured.

This chamber music concert is at 4 p.m. Sunday at Central Presbyterian Church, 7308 York Road, Towson. Admission is free. For more information, call 410-823-6145.

Gil Shaham

By nightfall on Sunday, the musical choices proliferate even more.

Gil Shaham, born in Illinois and raised in Israel, rose quickly to the front rank of violinists since his debut in the early 1980s. With an impeccable technique and telling interpretive instincts, this Grammy-winner continues to command attention, as he no doubt will in a recital for the Shriver Hall Concert Series. Shaham will perform one of Bach's most profound utterances, the D minor Partita for solo violin. Accompanied by pianist Akira Eguchi, the violinist will also play sonatas by Faure and Copland.

This recital is at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Shriver Hall, Johns Hopkins University, 3400 N. Charles St. Tickets are $33. Student tickets are $18 in advance; student rush tickets are $8. Call 410-516-7164.

Chamber Music by Candlelight

Chamber Music by Candlelight, an excellent concert series featuring members of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, offers a terrifically eclectic and enticing lineup. Two major French works -- a trio for oboe, bassoon and piano by Poulenc and the Piano Quartet by Faure -- will serve as bookends. In between are two highly novel items: The Earth's Round Imagined Corners for trombone and percussion by Brian Prechtl, and works for cello and piano by an immortal of the silver screen whose musical gifts have not always been fully appreciated -- Charlie Chaplin.

The concert is at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Second Presbyterian Church, 4200 St. Paul St. Admission is free. For more information, call 410-744-4034.

Cello Festival

There's more. The Cecylia Barczyk International Cello Festival, which runs from Saturday through Nov. 1, presents a recital by cellist Thaddeus Brys performing works by Bach, Bocherini, Brahms and Bruch at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Center for the Arts, Towson University, Osler and Cross Campus drives. Tickets are $12; $8 for students and seniors. Call 410-704-2787.

Folger Consort

Outside the immediate Baltimore area, the musical action is just as plentiful, of course. Here's one highly promising item to consider: The superb Folger Consort explores the multi-ethnic music of medieval Spain in a program called "Miracles of Al-Andalus" at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, University of Maryland, University Boulevard and Campus Drive, College Park. For tickets, call 301-405-2787.

Not bad for a single day. Good luck deciding what to hear. You can't go wrong.

For more theater, classical music and dance events, see page 51.

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