Fine playing comes in pairs

Critic's Corner//Music

March 13, 2007|By Tim Smith | Tim Smith,sun music critic

Duo-pianists Saar Ahuvia and Stephanie Ho, whose talents were honed at the Peabody Institute, have been steadily building a career over the past few years. Now based in New York, the artists will be back in Baltimore this weekend for two performances, the first at 8 p.m. Saturday at An die Musik, 409 N. Charles St.

The program includes a transcription of a Beethoven string quartet, music by the infrequently encountered Conlon Nancarrow, an arrangement of a Bill Evans improvisation and other decidedly unusual items. For tickets, call 410-385-2638 or visit andiemusiklive.com.

The pianists will also give a free performance at 3 p.m. Sunday at Catonsville Presbyterian Church, 1400 Frederick Road. Information: 410-747-6180.

Back to An die Musik: Two fine string players from the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra will be heard in separate recitals there. Cellist Dariusz Skoraczewski will play works by Chopin and others with pianist Michael Adcock at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow. Violinist Ivan Stefanovic, with guitarist Troy King, will offer a program of Bach, Villa Lobos, Paganini and more at 3 p.m. Saturday. Ticket information: 410-385-2638 or andiemusiklive.com.

Music in the Great Hall presents an offbeat combination of instruments and offbeat repertoire this weekend. Elizabeth Hainen (principal harpist of the Philadelphia Orchestra), Peter Minkler (the BSO's acting assistant principal violist) and percussionist David DePeters will play music by Arnold Bax, Michael Colgrass, Arvo Part and others.

Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Sunday at Towson Unitarian Universalist Church, 1710 Dulaney Valley Road. Ticket information: 410-813-4255.

Choral concerts of note

Columbia Pro Cantare continues its 30th anniversary season with a concert that includes a rare performance of Grieg's last completed work, Four Psalms. The program, led by Frances Motyca Dawson, also includes a gem by Schubert, his Mass in G major.

The concert is at 3 p.m. Sunday at First Evangelical Lutheran Church, Frederick and Chatham roads, Ellicott City. Ticket information: 410-799-9321 or 301-854-0107.

The Baltimore Masterworks Chorale, joined by two other choruses, will give the local premiere of a work by the chorale's director, Mark Hardy. His 1998 Requiem incorporates verses by William Wordsworth and a Welsh folk tune into the traditional Latin Mass for the Dead.

The concert will be at 7:30 p.m. March 25 at Grace United Methodist Church, 5407 N. Charles St. Admission is free. More information: 410-952-4234.

Hot night at Shriver

Violinist/violist Ani Kavafian, pianist Andre-Michel Schub and clarinetist David Shifrin have been among the best known and respected players in the business for more than two decades, each enjoying a strong presence with the high-profile Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. They recently decided to team up as a trio, an astute decision, judging by the way they lit up the stage Sunday night in a presentation by the Shriver Hall Concert Series.

The musicians revealed a seamless rapport from the start of the program in Mozart's Kegelstatt Trio. This is music originally written for friends, and that's exactly how it sounded here - conversational, easygoing, familiar, playful. Technical polish and supple collaborative instincts carried the Kavafian-Schub-Shifrin Trio with equal aplomb through Bartok's spicy, dynamic Contrasts.

In between came great works for two players at a time. Kavafian did not always produce the cleanest and purest of tones, but her wonderfully alive phrasing caught the lyric breadth of Faure's Violin Sonata in A major. Shifrin's virtuosic flair and sensitive way with a melodic line proved ideal for Poulenc's rich and moody Clarinet Soinata. In both works, Schub offered solid, attentive partnering.

tim.smith@baltsun.com

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