Monument Piano Trio kicks off church's 'Music in the Valley'


November 06, 2008|By TIM SMITH | TIM SMITH,

A recent and welcome addition to the region's cultural scene is "Music in the Valley" at the gothic-style, postcard-pretty St. John's Episcopal Church in Glyndon (the sort of place where you'd expect to bump into Miss Marple).

This season's four-concert series begins with the Monument Piano Trio, ensemble-in-residence at An die Musik. This group, which has an admirable track record for dynamic music-making, includes pianist Matthew Sheppard and two Baltimore Symphony Orchestra members - assistant concertmaster Igor Yuzefovich and assistant principal cellist Dariusz Skoraczewski.

The concert is at 5:30 p.m. Sunday at St. John's, 3738 Butler Road. Tickets are $20. Call 410-833-5300 or go to

A Christmas program Dec. 14 featuring the Canticle Singers, a women's choir, will continue the series at St. John's. Organist Ted Dix and flutist Gretchen Dix will give a recital there Feb. 22. BSO concertmaster Jonathan Carney and colleagues will round out the series May 24.

(The Monument Piano Trio's five-concert season at An die Musik begins Nov. 23. Call 410-385-2638 or go to

Cabaret at Germano's

Mezzo-soprano Jennifer Blades, who has enlivened many an opera production in town and has also revealed a rare flair for popular song, will bring her original show, My Funny Valentine, to the newly established Cabaret at Germano's in Little Italy.

Blades describes the revue as "a tale of looking for love in all the wrong places, finding love, losing love, confusing love, finding love again but doubting that it really is love, and finally loving love." Accompanied by pianist Eileen Cornett, she'll sing works by some of America's greatest songwriters, including George Gershwin, Rodgers and Hart, Harold Arlen and Stephen Sondheim.

The performance is at 7:30 tonight at Germano's Restaurant, 300 S. High St. There's a $10 cover charge and a $15 food and drink minimum. Call 410-752-4515.

Golden anniversary

Bruce Eicher, a Peabody Conservatory alumnus who taught there for 28 years, has reached a remarkable milestone: 50 years as organist and music director of Grace United Methodist Church. In his honor, Gounod's St. Cecilia Mass will be performed by the church's choir and an orchestra conducted by Jed Gaylin during a Sunday service. Also performing during the service will be the choir of Beth El Congregation, where Eicher has been organist for 44 years.

The service, at 10 a.m. Sunday, will be followed by a reception. The church is at 5407 N. Charles St. Call 410-433-6650.

A musical feast

Last Sunday afternoon, I started off at Goucher College to hear the first half of Handel's Israel in Egypt, performed by the Baltimore Choral Arts Society. The ensemble sounded robust and finely honed by music director Tom Hall. He conducted with keen appreciation for the score's rich drama, generating particularly sensitive phrasing from his singers in "He sent a thick darkness" and bold, incisive articulation in "He rebuked the Red Sea."

Tenor William Hite's clear, elegant tone was another bonus. The orchestra did mostly smooth work. Trumpeters Langston J. Fitzgerald III and Ted Jones delivered bright, telling punctuation in "He gave them hailstones for rain."

Next stop was Second Presbyterian Church, where I caught the last half of the Community Concerts presentation of soprano Hyunah Yu, cellist Amit Peled and pianist Alon Goldstein. The singer delivered a group of Schumann lieder with seamless tonal purity and expressive warmth, subtly accompanied by Goldstein.

Two of Brahms' Four Serious Songs, arranged for cello and piano, were dedicated by Peled to the late Mihaly Virizlay, the BSO's principal cellist emeritus. Peled's upper-register intonation drooped a little, but his phrasing, especially in O Tod, wie bitter bist du, proved consistently compelling.

All three musicians collaborated eloquently in Schubert's Auf dem Storm.

My final destination was the Shriver Hall Concert Series, where the Guarneri String Quartet was making its first appearance since 1984 - and its last appearance there ever. The much-revered ensemble is retiring at the end of this season, after 45 years and only one personnel change (cellist Peter Wiley, who succeeded his teacher, David Soyer, in 2001).

Fittingly, the program touched upon three centuries of repertoire. Mozart's D minor Quartet, K. 421, was a model of clarity, proportion and unforced charm. Dvorak's Op. 96 emerged with its lyricism sounding as deep and songful as ever. Violinists Arnold Steinhardt and John Dalley sculpted the duet in the second movement with exceptional poignancy.

And the ever-invigorating spice of Bartok's Quartet No. 3 received a taut, typically incisive account from these top-notch players, who have enriched the world of chamber music immeasurably.

One sad note from Shriver Hall: David Baldwin, who has done a brilliant job as executive director of the concert series for three years, will leave at the end of December to return to arts management. He'll be a hard act to follow.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.