REVIEW: (HT – Peter Jacobi, Emile Naoumoff recital) Musicians perform effective concerts


Reviews: Musicians perform effective concerts

By Peter Jacobi H-T Reviewer |
February 5, 2013

Scoring his Requiem a final time, Gabriel Faure determined it should be performed by mixed chorus, boy soprano, baritone and an orchestra of strings, timpani, four horns, three trombones and pairs of flutes, clarinets, bassoons and trumpets. On Saturday evening in Indiana University’s Auer Hall, pianist Emile Naoumoff called on a Steinway concert grand to replace all of the above.

What this adventurous Jacobs School of Music faculty pianist did was to transcribe Faure’s gentle masterpiece, a Requiem with an uplifting spirit virtually like no other, for his instrument of choice. Not to suggest that the piano, as wonderful an instrument as human endeavors have devised, can in any way replace Faure’s choral/solo/instrumental lineup, but Naoumoff’s previously honed skills at transcription and his sensitivity to the Requiem’s content surprisingly combined to shape a work that, in his pianistic hands, exuded the supernal, the lofty.

Just to have included the range of strokes needed to make one feel the music as substantively complete was quite an artistic feat. To have also given the transcription that aura of spirituality made this audacious effort an exhilarating experience, sometimes breathtaking.

Naoumoff opened his recital with a performance of Schubert’s final Piano Sonata, the B Flat. As one has come to expect from this larger-than-life interpreter, it was appropriately contemplative and, in the final two movements, exuberant. For this listener, however, the interpretation hovered too much on the extremes of soft/loud, slow/fast and was punctuated with overdramatic and overly extended silences. Nevertheless, one could not deny its effectiveness.

Copyright: 2013


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