CONTEMPORARY MUSIC CONSORTIUM, Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, Sunday
Sunday's Contemporary Music Consortium Concert was a showcase for flutist Laurel Ann Maurer. A longtime resident of Utah who now makes her home on the East Coast, this was Maurer's first local concert in nearly two years.
It was an absolute pleasure having her back in town again, even if for only a short time. A consummate artist, Maurer put her remarkable artistry on display Sunday in a compelling program that allowed her to dazzle the audience not only with her immaculate technical prowess but also mesmerize them with her amazing musicality and eloquently expressive playing.
Accompanying her for all except two pieces was pianist John Jensen, well known in the Beehive State for his long-term association with the Park City and Salt Lake City Music Festival.
Jensen is a wonderful pianist in his own right and an amazing accompanist. He seems to know exactly what is needed from his side and knows how to achieve the perfect balance with his partner. Throughout the concert, their collaboration was very organic and intuitive.
The two works that Jensen sat out were Malcolm Arnold's Duo for Flute and Viola, op. 10, that opened the concert, and, later in the first half, Dana Paul Perna's Fantasy-Sonata for solo flute.
Maurer was joined by violist Leslie Harlow for the Arnold. A delightfully light and lyrical piece, their reading was captivating and charming.
The Perna, on the other hand, is more wide-ranging in content than the Arnold. Maurer played it with rich expressiveness that captured the lyricism of the work wonderfully.
Also on the first half were two pieces by Utah composers Marie Nelson Bennett and Michael Carnes.
Nelson Bennett's "Reflection" is, as the title suggests, a contemplative piece with a tinge of wistfulness about it. Mainly chordal writing in the piano supports the flute's sweet melodic line, and both Maurer and Jensen captured the tenderness of the piece enticingly.
Carnes' "Spidgin" was written for Maurer and received its world premiere Sunday. Rhythmic and vibrant, Maurer and Jensen captured the kinetic energy of the piece with their dynamic playing.
Rounding out the first half was Bohuslav Martinu's Sonata for Flute and Piano. A cornerstone of 20th century flute repertoire, the sonata is filled with wit and lyricism. It received an immaculate reading by Maurer and Jensen, whose playing was polished, refined and wonderfully vibrant.
Jensen was featured soloistically in the second half, playing two movements ("The Alcotts" and "Thoreau") from Charles Ives' monumental "Concord" Sonata. His perusal of these two movements was nuanced, well articulated and dynamic.
The duo rounded out the second half with Katherine Hoover's "Three Sketches" for piccolo and piano, and Lowell Liebermann's Sonata for Flute and Piano, whose second movement is a virtuosic whirlwind for the flutist.