Charleston Music Fest off to exciting opening
By William Furtwangler
Post and Courier
Thursday, January 31, 2008
The Charleston Music Fest's exciting opening of its three-day chamber music celebration "Extravaganza!" began Wednesday night in Randolph Hall at the College of Charleston.
A creation of two School of the Arts music professors, Lee-Chin and Natalia Khoma, this is the fest's second year, featuring the talents from the music department and invited guests.
Titled "Russian White Night," the program offered rarely heard compositions by Romantic-era Russian composers Anton Arensky and Aleksandr Glazunov.
Violinist Katharine Gowers, violist Toby Appel and cellists Robert deMaine and Khoma performed an unusual Arensky quartet, one with two cellos and one violin. The more darkly hued creation had great sweeping gestures, tinged with ample Slavic melancholy, expertly grasped by the performers.
Unfortunately, Arensky used little imagination when it came to accessible melodic ideas.
Glazunov's String Quintet, Op. 39 adds one cello to the standard quartet instrumentation.
Violinist Lee-Chin joined the Arensky performers for a much more melodic and colorful composition, which sounded strongly like it was mined from Borodin's chamber music.
A "Masterworks" program is at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Simons Center's Recital Hall at the college, and "An Afternoon at Ashley Hall" at 4 p.m. Sunday will conclude the three concerts.
It's all pricey, but top-notch music making.