Legato Arts presents The International Trio
Luisa Sello, Guoliang Han, flute
Amir Farid, piano
Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, New York, NY
May 22, 2017
Legato Arts (www.legatoarts.com), with additional support provided by the Italian Regional Project FVG 2016, presented the International Trio on May 22, 2017 at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. The International Trio consists of two flutists, Luisa Sello (www.luisasello.it) and Guoliang Han (www.hanguoliang.com), and pianist Amir Farid (www.amirfarid.com). In a program featuring some of the “usual suspects” (Franz Doppler, Freidrich Kuhlau), great masters (Bach, Mozart, Ravel), and a few unfamiliar names (Huang Huwei, François Borne), the selections proved to be a hit with the audience that filled the hall.
The program was structured to showcase both the trio and more soloistic repertoire for Ms. Sello and Mr. Han. The first half consisted of works that are technically challenging and musically rich in content, while the second half was dedicated mostly to showstoppers that highlight the virtuosity of the players. It was also a program that could be described as “user friendly,” with all accessible works, no strident dissonances or excessive demands on the listener.
Ms. Sello, Mr. Han, and Mr. Farid took the stage and opened with J.S. Bach’s Trio Sonata in G Major, BWV 1039. The balance was excellent (even with the piano on the full stick), the intonation was accurate, and the details of line and form were done with careful precision. Ms. Sello then played Ravel’s Pavane pour une infante défunte (Pavane for a Dead Princess), in an arrangement for flute and piano. Ms. Sello has a light tone, with an amount of vibrato that never wandered into the “wobbly” territory, which was well-suited to this work. Mr. Han followed with Sunlight on Mountain Tian by Huang Huwei (b. 1932), a 20th century work with its heart in the 19th. One could speak of a musical East-meets-West mélange. It was poignant with splashes of color that Mr. Han brought out with the maximum effect. The half ended with Doppler’s Andante et Rondo for Two Flutes and Piano, Op 25. Filled with Doppler’s characteristic brilliant writing for the flute, it starts calmly and “heats up” in what is a fun work for performers and listeners alike. The performers handled this work with perfect understanding in a satisfying performance.
Before anything else, much praise must be given to Mr. Farid, who handled his role with complete commitment, when it would have been so easy (and so understandable) to go through the motions given many of the works have the pianist in an almost parenthetical role.
After Intermission, Ms. Sello and Mr. Han offered Two Arias for Two Flutes from Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte – Pamina’s Ach, ich fühl’s, es ist verschwunden (Ah, I feel it, it is vanished), and the famous Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen (Hell’s vengeance boils in my heart), as sung by The Queen of the Night. The interplay between the two players was excellent, and there were moments of charm and excitement throughout. Mr. Han then offered Doppler’s well-known Fantaisie Pastorale Hongroise, Op. 26. This is one of those “must play” works, that is filled with virtuosic adventure. Mr. Han did not disappoint, as he tossed off the challenges with apparent ease. Not to be outdone, Ms. Sello answered the “challenge” with a brilliant performance of themes from Bizet’s Carmen in a work entitled Carmen Fantasy (Fantaisie brillante) by François Borne.
After all this razzle-dazzle, it was time for the players to reassert their artistry with a musically taut rendering of Kuhlau’s masterful Trio Sonata in G major, Op. 119, which ended the concert in fine style. The audience rewarded the trio with extended applause. The performers were presented with bouquets of flowers from their fans. Mr. Han ended up with an extra bouquet, which he gallantly presented to Mr. Farid’s page turner, who was visibly delighted by the gift. All then took their final leave to the continued applause of the large audience.