IN: Reviews

Bringing Down the House at Maverick


Alexander Platt

A listener who thinks she’s heard everything takes great pleasure in encountering two works completely new to her. For Saturday’s Maverick extravaganza, music director, Alexander Platt assembled forces from the Caroga Arts Collective (a group of young musical professionals who come from all over the country and gather in the summers at Caroga Lake in the Adirondacks), and three important soloists for Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings as well as music by Shostakovich and Alan Shulman.

Platt led his beautifully curated program with thoroughgoing panache, directed with consummate skill, and the ensemble responded with virtuosity of the highest order. The disparate pieces fit together like a chilly hand into a warm glove.

Violist Michael Klotz soloed in Alan Shulman’s Theme and Variations for viola, strings, and harp. He also is member of the Amernet String Quartet, which frequently visits the Maverick including the day after this event! Klotz delivered the solo part of this heart-breaking little piece with effortless and courtly flair.  

In 2005 Michail Zinman and Andrei Pushkatev arranged Shostakovich’s Sonata Op. 134 968 for violin, and piano for violin, string orchestra and percussion. Since emigrating from Belarus with his family, Saturday’s solo violinist Evgeny Kutik has performed throughout the country and abroad to great acclaim. Shostakovich’s sonata is a spiky bit of dark comedy whose poignancy takes one by surprise, especially in the arrangement we heard with a good-sized string contingent. Garry Kvistad, a member of the Nexus percussion group and a regular at Maverick, did the honors on percussion with powerful, sharp-edged exactitude. Kutik delivered a searing, heartfelt, technically sure performance, made all the more profound by his instinctive connection to Shostakovich’s world.

Platt’s unflinching, powerhouse direction perfectly suited the closer,  Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings in C Major, Opus 48. Maverick’s maestro inserted a little elegy between the first and second movements; it somehow fit seamlessly into the larger work — a tiny, haunting (and haunted) gesture Tchaikovsky penned as an homage to a close friend.

The audience responded with boundless enthusiasm. They simply loved the music, loved the players, loved the hall. Loved it all. Can we hope for more?

Mary Fairchild lives in Rosendale, New York, after a long career as a host at WQXR, WNYC, WMHT (Schenectady), and WPLN (Nashville). She has for some 20 years been writing program notes for Vladimir Feltsman’s PianoSummer at New Paltz. Before being called by Kalliope, the Muse of Eloquence and of Writing About Music, she worked as a financial editor and manager of investor relations in Wall Street.

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