by Mike Telin
Whenever three adventurous musicians share a stage, the programming possibilities are endless. On Friday, November 4 at 7:30 pm at the Cultural Arts Center at Disciples Church, ChamberFest Cleveland will present soprano Amanda Powell, clarinetist Franklin Cohen, and pianist Peter Takács in “Echoes from the Valley,” a program of global folk songs. Tickets are available online.
“We’ve programmed concerts like this before during ChamberFest,” Cohen said during a recent telephone conversation. “I’ve admired Amanda’s talent for years. I’ve heard her with Apollo’s Fire and at different clubs and her talent is not confined to one little box. Everyone loves her work, and she’s been a very important part of the ChamberFest family for a number of years.”
Powell will be featured in Schubert’s Der Hirt auf dem Felsen (“The Shepherd on the Rock”) and Ravel’s Cinq melodies populaires grecques. The trio will also present an exploration of international folk songs — from the Appalachian Mountains to the Greek seaside to a classical Arabic muwashshah — in arrangements by Dave Morgan, as well as Two Ladino Songs arranged by Paul Ferguson. “The arrangements are fantastic and we’re looking forward to playing them,” Cohen said.
Making his debut with the ChamberFest family of musicians is the trio’s pianist. “I’ve known Peter for a very long time — even before he started teaching at Oberlin and I joined the [Cleveland] Orchestra,” Cohen said. “It’s never worked out for the two of us to perform together and I’m so happy that it finally has.”
Takács will open the program with Scriabin’s Nocturne for the Left Hand, and will join Cohen for Schumann’s Fantasiestücke, Op. 73 and Paquito D’Rivera’s Three Pieces for Clarinet and Piano.
Whenever a soprano, clarinetist, and pianist gather together, it’s almost certain that they will turn their attention to one piece. How many times has Cohen played The Shepherd On The Rock?
His answer took me by surprise. “I was thinking back to my first year in Cleveland,” the clarinetist recalled. “I got a call from a representative of Leonard Bernstein asking me if I wanted to play on the Bernstein and Isaac Stern Gala on New Year’s Eve at Carnegie Hall. I said sure, what do you want me to play? They said, how about Shepherd On The Rock with Benita Valente. I said — I’ll be there!
“That was in 1976 and I don’t think I’ve played it since. I’m not sure how I’ve gone this long without playing it again, but I’m thrilled to be able to play it at least one more time with great musicians like Amanda and Peter. It’s one of my very favorite pieces and in my mind, there is no greater composer than Schubert.”
Published on ClevelandClassical.com October 27, 2022.
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