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Subject: Eric Owens & Susanna Phillips sing out Schubert in joint DC recital (4-30-17)
From: Alan Savada <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Alan Savada <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 1 May 2017 16:50:51 -0400

text/plain (70 lines)

Washington Performing Arts Society had this concert slated for last November, but it was cancelled due to illness and finally we go to see this wonderful duo of talent joined by pianist Myra Huang and clarinetist Anthony McGill yesterday afternoon in a soaring Schubert afternoon which was introduced by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Ms. Phillips began the program with

Die Manner sind mechant,

Fruhlingsglaube brought us an almost Mozartean purity,

Gretchen Am Spinnrade was started so soft and near-zombie-like allowing her to truly develop the character as if it were an entire opera ending with a great cry at th end "Vergehen sollt!"

Du bist die Ruh

Bei dir allein

After this set, the lights lowered and two men brought a large cushy armchair onstage; the lights went back up and 

Mr. Owens came to the stage almost limping and explained, "OK, about the chair; I'm having some back issues and I wasn't going to miss this," which brought a rousing cheer from the audience. He said he was more comfortable seated as standing was very painful and went on to deliver a truly amazing set of song, none of which I can ever recall hearing before, and if I did they all came to me as if new!

There were two duets on the program (Antigone und Oedip & Hektors Abschied) which I was dying to hear, but Mr.Owens explained when he first came on these would be deleted (obviously because of his health) and instead would be replaced with a new piece by John Cage entitled, "15 minutes of silence." I giggled, but I think much of it went over the audience's head!

Prometheus was a gutsy rendition with an almost godlike delivery and of course, we could not help almost a little giggle as his stentorian bass declared, "Hier sitz' ich" or  "Here I sit."

Fahrt zum Hades

Gruppe aus dem Tartarus, the intensity of which blew me away reminding me or Erlkonig, but instead of building from start to finish, the intensity was throughout. At the end after building to a monstrous last two lines I was surprised to hear the pianist play four oddly light chords to finish; it was so unexpected.

After the break Ms. Phillips began with

Viola which got rousing applause again for its beautiful music, but also for the amazing development of the character of the Violet

and Mr. Owens continued with


Der Wanderer with sublime softness at the very end and a gorgeous bass "Gluck" final note.

Auf der Donau, again with another spectacular final low note.

An die Musik had such feeling in the line "Hast mich in eine bessre Welt entruckt!" or "Have you removed me to a better place..."

For the final piece, Ms. Phillips joined by Mr. McGill for

Der Hirt auf dem Felsen where the gorgeous clarinet and piano overture set the scene and then a conversation between clarinet and soprano went back and forth only in unison at the very end.

ALAN SAVADA of Washington, DC

ALAN SAVADA of Washington, DC

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