Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tanya Tomkins Salon at the Rex

Salon at Hotel Rex, 04.11.2012 The Salon at Hotel Rex, before performance by Tanya Tomkins of Bach Cello Suites.The Salon at the Hotel Rex was packed for Tanya Tomkins on Baroque cello, playing 2 Bach Suites. Ms. Tomkins joked that she was glad to see everyone drinking wine, since Bach once requested wine as part of his payment. She chose 2 contrasting suites, the bright G Major, which she described as "innocent," & the dark C Minor, with its bizarre Sarabande. Her playing was rhythmically free, & she played through the ends of phrases, so that each movement was a continuous stream of notes. Ms. Tomkins is obviously very familiar with the music, but the performance did not sound rote. She is an effortful player & sometimes breathes heavily. It often sounded like her bow skimmed off the strings.

During the pause between suites, she told us she was playing a 1798 English cello with gut strings & no endpin. The strings are under less tension than a modern instrument, so they ring more. Her bow is also lighter, so the sound is not sustained but instead lifts off at the end of the stroke. Despite the small size of the salon, it is difficult to see seated performers when the room is crowded, & I did not see Ms. Tomkins at all from my seat on the banquette. The audience was quiet & respectful. Several people listened with their eyes closed. During the Q & A, an elderly gentleman stood up & read a poem about butterflies & birds that he had written during the performance.

§ Tanya Tomkins, Baroque cello
Salon at the Rex

J.S. Bach: Suite No. 1 in G Major, BWV 1007
J.S. Bach: Suite No. 5 in C Minor, BWV 1011

Wednesday, April 11, 6:30 pm
Hotel Rex

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