Monday, April 28, 2008

Andreas Scholl,Tamar Halperin at JMC

There was excitement in the air as people crowded into the Jerusalem Music Centre for the recital of German countertenor Andreas Scholl (b.1967), certainly no newcomer to the Jerusalem concert scene), and young Israeli harpsichordist and pianist Tamar Halperin. Scholl had been conducting master classes for singers on the days prior to the concert.

The concert began with two Henry Purcell(1659-1695) songs. Halperin set the scene for “Music For a While” with a small, ornately improvised introduction. And such an appropriate beginning to the evening this song was. From the incidental music to “Oedipus”, we know that, in the hands of these two artists, music “shall all your cares beguile”. This was followed by “Sweeter Than Roses”. Composed in 1695 to be included in the tragedy “Pausanius”, it is filled with words that fire one’s imagination: ”evening breeze”, “dear kiss”, “shot like fire”. It is, indeed, a personal soliloquy about separation. In both the songs, Scholl, by means of diction and rubato (flexible rhythms) presents the impact of each expressive word.

Halperin then performed German composer, organist and keyboard virtuoso J.J. Froberger’s (1616-1667) Suite no. XVIII for Harpsichord in g minor. Sometimes credited as being “creator of the Baroque suite”, Froberger typically includes an Allemande, Gigue, Courante and Sarabande in this suite. Halperin crafts each phrase with individual expression, brings out the most hidden of melodic lines, ornaments and orchestrates, sways her rhythms, concluding this interesting performance with a Sarabande of regal majesty. Tamar Halperin is presently residing in Basel, studying harpsichord and continuo-playing at the Schola Cantorum.

Georg Friedrich Handel (1685-1759) wrote more than 50 cantatas when he was in Rome from 1706 to 1709. A member of the “Arcadian Academy” (a society of men of the arts, originally of poets, proposing to return to the fields of truth, to pastoral mythology) Handel saw the cantata as a dramatic form to entertain audiences at a time when opera was prohibited. Scholl and Halperin performed two of these cantatas. Presenting the narrative, touching and humorous naivete of these works, the artists were communicative with each other and with the audience. Scholl gave a brief account of each of the whimsical plots, adding to the audience’s comprehension and enjoyment.

Halperin played the Allemande from J.S.Bach’s(1685-1750) French Suite no. 4 in E flat major. Once again, she takes the audience with her on a personal musical journey of shaped and crafted phrases where timing says it all.

The concert ended with three songs by F.J.Haydn (1732-1809). His songs “Despair”, “Recollection” and “Wandering” were all reflective, dark and delicate. Halperin, now accompanying on the piano, brought out the lyrical and pianistic aspects of these works: no nuance was overlooked. Scholl, once more, highlighted certain words to produce the drama of the moment; his consonants, such as the “k” in “think death” (in “Despair”) were jagged and cutting and his message was clear. In “Wandering”, excitement and disappointment are reflected in a myriad of harmonies.

For their encore, the artists presented a folk-song, the melancholy “There Is a Ship”, sung and accompanied with simplicity, beauty and humility. It was a moving end to the evening.

The Jerusalem Music Centre is surely the most intimate and wonderful hall for recitals. Each note rang out clearly and every word presented itself to the listener. The program was especially well balanced. It was an evening of great artistry and sincerity…an evening not to be missed!

Guest Artists at the JMC
Andreas Scholl-countertenor
Tamar Halperin-harpsichord and piano
The Jerusalem Music Centre, Yemin Moshe
March 19, 2008

1 comment:

Paul said...

I saw Scholl and Halperin tonight in Canberra with two others playing Purcell and Handel. Excellent. The encore was Ombra ma fu