Monday, January 16, 2012

Ellen Fisher-Deerberg's Concert: Cherry Hill, NJ

 Ellen (standing on the right) accepts flowers and applause after her concert, Sunday, January 15 at Jacob's music store in Cherry Hill, NJ.

This delightful concert presented many of the standard pieces of repertoire for the flute, along with other works new to me.  Presented by Ellen Fisher-Deerberg, accompanied by Dr. Chiu-Ling Lin at the piano, and including guest artist, flutist Lisamarie McGrath, the afternoon was filled with musical discoveries and delights.

In the interest of Full Disclosure: Ellen was my student while she was in high school, and we have remained friends ever since.  She went on to Temple University and studied with my teacher, Murray Panitz.  She has been an active freelance flutist in the mid-Atlantic region, and has just recently been appointed principal flute of the Bravura Philharmonic Orchestra based in central New Jersey.

The room, as you can see from the photo, had a very low, sound proofed ceiling with exposed beams that gave the feeling of an very closed down space.  There was a nice, thick carpet on the floor.  Admirably, Ellen did not try to overplay this horrible acoustic, so there was no forcing or any unpleasant sounds at all.  Hats off to her for dealing with this difficult situation in a professional manner!

The concert opened with a lovely performance of the Faure Fantaisie, Op. 79 filled with all the excitement that the Allegro movement provides.  Ellen changed the mood decidedly with a wonderfully shaped reading of the Schumann Three Romances, op. 94.  She was joined next by Lisamarie in a fascinating work by the Japanese composer Yuko Uebayashi entitled Au-Dela Du Temps for two flutes and piano.  The four movements of this work sparkled with virtuosic figuration and stunning melodic lines that were shaped beautifully by the performers.  The harmonic language was fresh, open sounding, and not necessarily tonal.  This was a new work for me and I will seek out a flutist to join me on it!

The second half included music of Ravel, Piazzolla, and Godard.  The set of three Piazzolla works occupied the center of the half, and all three were new to me.  Fuga Y Misterio, transcribed for flute and piano, gave a new twist to the art of the fugue.  Two solo works for piano followed: Milonga del angel and Retrato de Alfredo Gobbi allowed the audience to enjoy the artistry of Dr. Lin.  It seemed as if her hands pulled the notes out of the piano in a spirited and energetic performance.  The Godard Suite, Op. 116 ended this recital with a "flutey" and exciting finish.

This was a completely enjoyable concert from the quality of the playing, to the thoughtful selection of music, to the informative verbal program notes.  But a word to the presenters: this is not a pleasant place to hear a concert especially of such professional caliber.  Aside from the acoustical problems presented to the performers, the piano shop downstairs was tuning the pianos!!  The sound of which intruded on the concert.  The parking lot was very difficult to find with no signage of any value around.  Filled with 50 people, the small space quickly became over-heated.  And, the food was put out for the reception, which was in the back of the hall, during the Godard!! Someone like me spent 2 hours traveling, and paid the $20.00 admission.  I feel the audience and myself deserve a more professional setting and handling of the stage/hall management from the part of the concert presenters.

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