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Subject: Piotr Beczala bowls into Washington for delicious debut (5-3-17)
From: Alan Savada <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Alan Savada <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 4 May 2017 16:15:21 -0400
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Last night Washington DC had another superb night of music (after Ariodante the night before) in what will surely be remembered as an amazing vocal week!

Tenor Piotr Beczala made his DC debut with pianist Martin Katz at a recital presented by Vocal Arts DC at UDC which will be well remembered for many months and years.

It was the last concert of the season which is now dedicated to the memory of founders Dr. Gerald & Ann Perman who are so sorely missed, but will be remembered for decades, if not longer, with this wonderful series and arts organization they created.



ROBERT SCHUMANN
(1810–1856)

Dichterliebe
  “Im wunderschönen Monat Mai”
  “Aus meinen Tränen sprießen”
  “Die Rose, die Lilie, die Taube, die
          Sonne”
  “Wenn ich in deine Augen seh’”
  “Ich will meine Seele tauchen”
  “Im Rhein, im heiligen Strome”
  “Ich grolle nicht”
  “Und wüßten’s die Blumen, die
         kleinen”
  “Das ist ein Flöten und Geigen”
  “Hör’ ich das Liedchen klingen”
  “Ein Jüngling liebt ein Mädchen”
  “Am leuchtenden Sommermorgen”
  “Ich hab’ im Traum geweinet”
  “Allnächtlich im Traume”
  “Aus alten Märchen”
  “Die alten, bösen Lieder”
Intermission
 
MIECZYSŁAW KARŁOWICZ
(1876–1909)
“Disillusion”
“It goes over the fields”
“Speak to me still”
“From erotica”
“Whence the first stars”
“I remember quiet, clear golden
          days”
 
ANTONÍN DVOŘÁK
(1841–1904)
Cigánské melodie
  “My song of love rings out at dusk”
  “Ah! Why is my three-cornered bell
          ringing so passionately?”
  “The forest is quiet all around”
  “The string is taut”
  “Wide sleeves and wide trousers”
  “Songs my mother taught me”
  “Given a cage of pure gold to live in”
 
SERGEI RACHMANINOFF
(1873–1943)
 
“A Dream”
“Lilacs”
“Sing not to me, fair maiden”
“Spring Waters”

Encores:
Mattinata
Core 'ngrato(Catari)

Dichterliebe is often sung by a baritone and it was a welcome change to hear a tenor of such calibre. Each song offered a vocal variation to make the setting, taking us on a true musical journey. At first we had a seductive tenor in the opening, "Im wunderschonen Monat Mai" with a gorgeous crescendo on the final "Verlanger." In "Wenn ich in deine Augen seh" we were treated to the melting tenor voice that was ever so soft on the word "dich." "Im Rhein, im heiligen Strome" we had a more forceful baritonal tenor at the start. "Ich grolle nicht" is probably my favorite of the set and perhaps one foe the more famous lied as well and here it was treated with true grace. "Hor' ich das Liedchen klingen" gave Mr. Katz a chance to show off with its schmerz-ridden ending for piano. I noticed that the sheet music was indeed quite yellow and worn, a sign that Mr.Katz has been playing this work many times for many years.

After the bring I was totally taken by the Polish songs of Karlowicz. In reading his bio, I discovered he died in a skiing avalanche at age 32 and alas composed only 22 songs. They were beautifully melodic with each being so different musically setting a completely different scene. At one point, the music fell to the floor, but this did not keep Mr.Katz from continuing by heart, not missing a note.  If one thing was wrong with this recital it was the fact that Mr. Beczala seemed to have his right hand glued to the open piano!
Dvorak is one of my favorites and this set was a real treat, especially my true fave "Songs my mother taught me." The cycle ended with an awesome high note, held beautifully.

The Rachmaninoff was just as sublime and lush. "Sing not to me fair maiden" was gutsy and angst ridden and the two encores were even more of a treat as Mr. Beczala insisted on adding some Italian to the program. This was indeed an auspicious debut and we can only hope he will return to our nation's capital again very soon.


ALAN SAVADA of Washington, DC

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