Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Noontime Concerts: French Music Festival

As part of their French Music Festival, the inaccurately-named Noontime Concerts presented tenor Brian Thorsett with French horn player Kevin Rivard & pianist Dmitriy Cogan on Tuesday. The program was all short pieces & made me feel I was in a comfy sofa in a French drawing room, having tea & cookies. Mr. Thorsett has a clear, bell-like voice, though his highest notes sounded thin. He sang the 5 songs by Dorumsgaard with a sweet simplicity & was often very soft, creating an intimate mood. Both the Aubade aria by Lalo & the Elégie by Massenet had a languid, stretched-out feel. He did a nice falsetto in the Lalo & a smooth crescendo/diminuendo at the end of the Massenet.

Horn player Kevin Rivard accompanied Mr. Thorsett in the pieces by Mercadante & Massenet & was soloist for pieces by Dukas & Gartenlaub. His playing was consistently smooth, clean and warm, & he had great dynamic control. He did a terrific trill in the Mercadante. I liked the way he could make the horn sound like it was echoing from far away. Gartnelaub's Pour Le Cor was the one modern-sounding piece & was moody, mysterious & urgent. It received extended applause. Mr. Cogan is a dainty pianist who executes run and tremolos very rapidly & evenly. He looks cheerful when he plays. The 3 musicians achieved a good balance despite the echoey church acoustic.

Mr. Thorsett told us that Massenet's Elégie was the audience participation portion of the program & invited us to sing along if we knew the words, or to "just sound French." I did not hear anyone join in.

§ Noontime Concerts
French Music Festival

Kevin Rivard, horn
Brian Thorsett, tenor
Dmitriy Cogan, piano

F. S. Mercadante: L'Appel du Chasseur
Paul Dukas: Villanelle
Arne Dorumsgaard: 5 Early French Songs
     L'Amour de moy
     Cashez, beaux yeux
     Cette année si belle
     Que je plains tous ces esprits
     Le célèbre menuet d'exaudet
Jules Massenet: Amour Benis
Edouard Lalo: "Aubebe" from Le Roi d'Ys
Odette Gartenlaub: Pour Le Cor
Jules Massenet: Elégie

Tuesday, January 24 12:30 p.m.
Old St. Mary’s Cathedral

§ Photo of Mr. Rivard by Heather George


sfmike said...

Kevin Rivard is the bomb. Heard him play the Britten "Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings" with New Century a while ago, and was moved and impressed.

Axel Feldheim said...

I missed that Britten serenade, but I agree about Rivard. Apparently he was also the man behind Siegfried's brave horn calls in our Ring last summer.