Music in the Great Hall spotlights promising clarinetist Gleb Kanasevich
Each year, the long-running concert series Music in the Great Hall shines a spotlight on a recent winner of the Peabody Conservatory's Yale Gordon Concerto Competition. It's a good way to keep up with some of the talent being honed at that school.
Last season, cellist Hans Kristian Goldstein's MIGH recital easily revealed what had caught the favor of the competition judges. And last Sunday, clarinetist Gleb Kanasevich likewise made it very clear why he received a Yale Gordon award.
Not surprisingly, Kanasevich demonstrated considerable technical strengths in the concert, which he shared with some Peabody colleagues. He offered plenty of expressive nuance as well, especially in the one standard repertoire item on his program, the F minor Sonata by Brahms.
The most impressive aspect to the program, though, was
Cuong's "Zanelle" for unaccompanied clarinet provided Kanasevich a great curtain-raiser for the afternoon. It's a jaunty, jazzy score with concise melodic riffs that provide abundant material to develop. Kanasevich played it with admirable control and color.
The clarinetist, who studies with Peabody faculty member Anthony McGill, shaped the Brahms sonata elegantly. I would have liked even more warmth in the tone and, here and there, more breadth in the phrasing, but this was solid music-making, vividly supported by pianist Hui-Chuan Chen.
Cellist Dorotea Racs joined Chen and Kanasevich in an arresting account of Gorecki's "Recitatives and Ariosos (Lerchenmusik)." This work from the mid-1980s finds the composer in his familiar meditative mode, perhaps with an extra degree of brooding -- many somber, toll-like chords from the piano; many plaintive, long-held notes on the cello.
The clarinet is the primary mood-changer here, setting off ecstatic, Messiaen-like bursts in the first movement, and joining the cello in the second for tightly meshed lines that rock back and forth over the keyboard's determined sobriety. Though there's an almost "Rite of Spring" energy in the first portion of the finale, the pious chant, gentle harmony and unhurried pacing return to close the score as it began -- in some deep, personal, spiritual place.
Kanasevich and his collaborators made a persuasive case for this fascinating work.
PHOTO COURTESY OF MUSIC IN THE GREAT HALL