François Rabbath Wows Meadowlark Festival Fans
Bassist François Rabbath is a native of Syria, and his homeland culture comes out in his performance and compositions. The result lends a Middle-Eastern flavor to the music. As the Rabbaths ventured into the night's playlist, the audience was savoring the joy of the pair's playing from the heart. When the final piece was finished, the 200 patrons at St. Paul whistled and clapped and cheered for the evening's superlative work.
"There's nothing like live music at a firework festival."
And 10:01 p.m., the first firework exploded in the sky to cheers. Then more flashes of color, trails reflecting in the lake, embers glowing before falling into the water. The Trinkle Brass Works — performing live — played faster and faster as purple, green and red strobes flashed on platforms beneath the fireworks.
City spokesman Dave Norris said live music returned to the Uncle Sam Jam for the first time since 2009, "There's nothing like live music to a firework festival."
Nobody Plays It Better
It is said Anthony Molinaro is the champion of the Rachmaninoff piano concerto cadenzas. The Naumberg Piano Competition winner did bring out a Schubert-Liszt work, carefully fingered with meticulous perfection. There also was a sweet little Brahms intermezzo, and Molinaro had a keen sense of just where the musical line was going. This year the Meadowlark Festival came back to its roots of casual serious summer music. Many patrons relished the revival of this diamond sparkling amid Nebraska’s emerald fields.
Pablo Aslan Ensemble brings Piazzolla to the Plains
To commemorate the first day of summer and the last day of the 2014 Meadowlark Music Festival, about 300 tangueros gathered at Deer Springs Winery on a picturesque Saturday evening to take in the Pablo Aslan Ensemble’s marriage of tango and jazz. As the Aslan Ensemble is largely influenced by tango titan Astor Piazzolla, the quartet fittingly chose his “Libertango” for their encore. The melody charged as Aslan uttered wordless exhortations to his ensemble. Then, when it was over, the crowd popped up from their chairs to offer a strong applause.
Meadowlark Festival Off To Exceptional Start
Rare, indeed, is the opportunity to hear the Franz Liszt transcription of Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 9 in d minor, Op. 125.” Cheering patrons stood and offered immediate, lengthy applause for Vassiliadis. By the third curtain call the pianist was smiling broadly. Beethoven, Liszt and Vassiliadis were the ultimate victors Saturday.
Meadowlark Music Festival finishes on high note
Scandinavian vocal music authority Mimmi Fulmer was presented at Southwood Lutheran Church. Fulmer is on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison… and has a great talent in adapting her vocal instrument to the mood or setting of the work being presented. Examples of this included a whimsical treatment of “Hilu, Hilu,” which is a song about a girl in love and her departed lover. A standing ovation and cheers from the Southwood patrons gave Fulmer the signal for a special encore, a song her immigrant grandmother used to sing to her.
Meadowlark Music Festival finale at St. Paul United Methodist
A special addition Sunday was Meadowlark Festival founder and seasoned pianist Ann Chang, playing the Brahms “Sonata No. 3 for Violin and Piano, Op. 108” with Jewett. The pair approached the Sonata with studied concentration. Chang exhibited lovely entrances and exits to phrases. Jewett took care to ensure the elegance of Brahms’ musical structure. It sounded like these two had been playing together for years. The crowd stood and cheered at concert’s end as the sunset cast warm glows through the stained glass windows of St. Paul church. It was a grand conclusion for one of the best Meadowlark festivals in recent years.
'Our Fathers Suite' has common threads
“None of us would be here without our fathers. For us, fatherhood is, in a way, a sense of membership and caring. This piece is dedicated to our fathers, and to some of our friends who have lost their fathers,” Sturm said.
For the five-movement “Our Fathers Suite,” the opening and closing movements are threesome collaborations, while each composer undertook writing one of the inner movements as a personal dedication. It is not dfficult to detect common threads of parental strength, honor and respect running through the excellent jazz writing. Conversations heard among patrons hailed the work as a solid piece that needs to be played everywhere, and often.