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May 5, 2009

Brilliant baroque concert with Pahud, Pinnock, Manson at Shriver Hall

The Shriver Hall Concert Series wrapped up its subscription series Sunday night with a splash of brilliant baroque featuring the Berlin Philharmonic's principal flutist, Swiss-born Emmanuel Pahud; eminent English harpsichordist and conductor Trevor Pinnock; and the excellent Scottish cellist Jonathan Manson.

The primary focus was on flute sonatas by Bach, showcasing Pahud's extraordinary tonal gleam and subtlety of phrasing; his ability to produce a perfect pianissimo was in itself worth catching the concert. Pinnock backed the flutist with a mix of technical elan and expressive finesse (he also recovered neatly from two crises in the Sonata No. 2 -- a sticking note on the keyboard and a wind gust that played havoc with his music score).

Pahud also had a field day with Telemann's vibrant D major Fantasie for unaccompanied flute. On his own, Pinnock offered an eventful account of Purcell's Suite No. 4, getting a lot of colors from the harpsichord and, in the concluding Gigue, articulating the rushing counterpoint with terrific clarity and infectious enthusiasm. Manson, playing on a fine baroque cello, added beautifully detailed lines to some of the flute sonatas and also got the solo spotlight for Bach's G major Cello Suite, which he performed with as much virtuosity as refined sensitivity.

Although this was the end of the main Shriver Hall presentations for the season, there's one more event in the Discovery Series that the organizations presents at the neighboring BMA -- a recital by the remarkable young British clarinetist Julian Bliss at 3 p.m. Saturday. It's free, but reservations are recommended.

Posted by Tim Smith at 3:24 PM | | Comments (0)

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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