The 26-year-old Moscow born and California bred pianist Natasha Paremski along with renowned American cellist Zuill Bailey performed zestfully last Saturday at the Maverick Concerts in Woodstock NY. The announced schedule was reversed, so in order of performance, Richard Strauss’s teenaged Romance in F Major was followed by his Sonata for Cello and Piano, in the same key and from the same period. Both were given good readings. I was bothered by the cellist’s intonation in the latter, although balance and tempos succeeded. The sonata has a big opening that is developed dramatically, presaging some of the composer’s later harmonic style, although some sections are, briefly, murky.
Paremski, who had just arrived from Paris, played Rachmaninoff’s Piano Sonata in B-flat Minor extremely well. Written in 1913, the piece was redone up through 1931. Though I prefer this music performed a little more lyrically, her command of the dynamics and the style, requiring abrupt changes of intensity, was excellent.
Stravinsky’s Suite Italienne, the 1932 arrangement of excerpts from his ballet Pulcinella, is familiar to concert- and ballet-goers, if not so much in this version for piano and cello. Gone were the earlier problems of intonation; Bailey was at his best and Paremski was perfect. This was the music making with meaning at the highest level.
For the first encore Paremski replayed the Rachmaninoff’s second movement, and again she was great. The movement is a very impressive vehicle for pianistic display, but less so musically. Bailey’s encore was his arrangement of the flute solo in the “Dance of the Blessed Spirits” from Gluck’s Orpheé et Eurydice, with the uncluttered piano part perfectly in character. This lovely song sang out from the cello, elevating the Maverick audience and impeccably ending the evening.