This is not a review. I wouldn’t attempt to review what is, in most ways, perfection. Rather, it’s the personal story of one of the most exciting, fun evenings of music in memory, and it all revolved around the 10th anniversary gala of the Perlman Music Program’s Winter Residency here in Sarasota.
Although the program involved open rehearsals, master classes and performances for a couple of weeks over the holidays, I’ll concentrate on the concert and gala that took place this Saturday evening at the Sarasota Opera House. The concert featured a bevy of super-talented string players between the ages of 12 and 20, with the internationally renowned and beloved violinist, conductor and singer (yes, singer), Itzhak Perlman.
What we heard at the gala concert is that PMP is doing everything right. The first part of the program was devoted to choral music under the direction of Patrick Romano. Singing string players? Yes. They learn to sing in a chorus so they can sing with their instruments. They learn to breathe and phrase and be great musicians.
These are string players, not singers. But the musicianship they learn from using their God-given instruments, the built-in ones, will make them finer players in the long run. (And there was, somewhere in that group, one soprano who had a real voice. Maybe she’ll become another Judith Blegen, the violinist-turned-Met Opera soprano, who used her instrumental training to become one of the world’s finest singers.)
In the second half, the players did a memorable performance of Mozart’s exposed “Eine kleine Nachtmusik.” As Perlman said before he conducted the work, this may sound like simple music but it’s very difficult and very complex. With Perlman’s help on the podium, the kids got it, especially the richness of the inner voices, and this was a beautifully crafted presentation.
They concluded with the outer movements of Mendelssohn’s great octet for strings in the orchestral version. Here, it was the lower voices that soared, especially in the final movement when the basses and cellos positively buzzed with passion and precision.
But now we come to the personal part. Toby Perlman and I were both at the High School of Music and Art in New York City at about the same time. That means we’ve known each other for more than a half-century. Her inspiration gave birth to the wondrous PMP. And the party that followed the concert, and included the faculty and students as well as sponsors and PMP Friends, was what making music is all about.
After a sumptuous dinner at Michael’s On East, the Perl-Tones — renamed the Try-Tones for this event — took the stage for some of the most cultivated Doo-wop in the history of music: Bass player Rachel Calin, violinist/singer Sean Lee and Merry Peckham (all faculty members) joined with choral director/Doo-wop soprano extraordinaire, Patrick Romano, and basso Woo-Woo-Woo specialist Itzhak Perlman for renditions of the 1956 best-seller, “In the Still of the Night,” and, our favorite, “Walk Like a Mensch.” Who knew?
Currently 0 Responses
23 A Wink and a Smile
5:30 pm - 10:00 pm
25 "Jazz at Two" with the Kevin Celebi Quartet
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
25 The Sarasota Ballet presents Program 7 | Johan Kobborg, Alina Cojocaru & Friends
26 St. Armands Fine Art Festival
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
A Cinderella story
A 10-week-old miniature pinscher puppy found a “happily ever after ending” at the Celebration of Pets April 12, at the Sarasota County Fairgrounds.
Pharmacy brings dose of medicine to Publix
The in-store pharmacy of Longboat Key Publix opened Monday, approximately 16 months after the completion of the new store at 525 Bay Isles Parkway, in the Shoppes of Bay Isles.
Golfer scores victory with less than a stroke
The Longboat Key Masters Golf Tournament, which took place March 28 through March 31, at the Resort at Longboat Key Club’s Islandside and Harbourside golf courses came down to less than one stroke’s difference between first-place winner Kevin Preston and second-place winner Michael Russell, of Longboat Key.