Sunday, March 15, 2020

Interludes with Piano Favorites in a Virtual Recital


Svetlana Smolina at First Lutheran Church, Torrance.

REVIEW

Svetlana Smolina: “The Interludes” livestream, First Lutheran Church, Torrance
David J Brown

Early evening on Thursday, March 12, Jim Eninger and Karla Devine of Classical Crossroads, Inc., learned that the violinist Pavel Šporcl, who was scheduled to give three recitals over the weekend including the regular monthly “The Interludes” at First Lutheran Church and School, Torrance, on Saturday, had been unable to make the journey from the Czech Republic.

Under the current circumstances of global travel restrictions this was not exactly surprising, and given the need to avoid large gatherings it was unlikely that the concerts with audiences present would have gone ahead anyway. However, with the generous cooperation of the locally-based pianist Svetlana Smolina, who was to have partnered Mr. Šporcl, Classical Crossroads organized at this extremely short notice a replacement solo piano recital by Ms. Smolina, which was livestreamed from the church at the scheduled time.

Thus it was possible for home listeners/viewers to enjoy her 55-minute program of mostly familiar favorites from the safety of their own homes. So far as I was concerned, the sound quality was not ideal, but I am sure that the tendency for bass textures in the church’s resonant acoustic to sound a bit muddied was due far more to the small speakers attached to my computer than any deficiencies in the First Lutheran microphone set-up.

Clearly Classical Crossroads are on a learning curve with this enterprise, but it’s most heartening that they intend to livestream the remaining six concerts in their 2019-2020 season if things don't get too dire (details herehere and here), and thus give a little cheer to the community as well as employment to at least a few out of Southern California’s very large pool of talented freelance musicians who are suddenly being faced with wholesale concert cancellations and consequent loss of income.

For the record, Ms. Smolina’s warmly communicative program was as follows:
• Schumann: Widmung (Dedication), the first of the 26 songs from Myrthen (Myrtles) Op. 26, in Liszt’s 1848 solo piano arrangement (S. 566)
• Liszt: Liebesträume (Dreams of Love) No. 3 in A-flat major, S. 541, No. 3 (1850)
• Chopin: Scherzo No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 31 (1836-37)
• Chopin: Waltz in D-flat major “Minute Waltz,” Op. 64 No. 1 (1847)
• Chopin: Waltz in C-sharp minor, Op. 64 No. 2 (1847)
• Chopin: Waltz in E-flat major “Grande Valse Brillante,” Op. 18 (1833)
• Tchaikovsky: Final Waltz and Apotheosis from The Nutcracker (1892), in the 1978 solo piano arrangement by Mikhail Pletnev
• Rachmaninoff: Prelude in G minor, Op.23 No. 5 (1903)
• Rachmaninoff: Prelude in D major, Op.23 No. 4 (1903)
• Balakirev: Islamey, Oriental Fantasy, Op. 18 (1869, rev. 1902).

  Fortunately, the whole recital can be viewed on line here.

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“The Interludes”: First Lutheran Church, Torrance, 3.00pm, Saturday, March 14, 2020.

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