Two of the most exciting classical concerts of the Cultural Olympiad took place Wednesday and Thursday under the auspices of the Park City International Music Festival.
What made these concerts so striking was the mesmerizing performance of violinist Koh Gabriel Kameda. Playing for the first time in Utah, Kameda showed his audience in both Salt Lake City and Park City that he is a musician of the highest caliber. His technique is flawless, and this, combined with his refined musicality, makes him a truly remarkable artist.
Kameda displayed his considerable talent in several works at both concerts, most notably in pieces by Paganini, Sarasate and Kreisler.
Paganini's "Introduction and Variations on 'Nel cor piu non mi sento' " for solo violin is a spectacular showcase for the soloist, and Kameda's performance was absolutely immaculate. The piece is technically demanding, but Kameda made short work of the demands Paganini places on the performer. It was thrilling to hear Kameda play it, and his performance was nothing short of brilliant. Equally impressive was Kameda's playing of Sarasate's "Carmen Fantasy." It was an amazing display of virtuosity, and Kameda's performance was stunning, dynamic and powerful.
In a totally different vein were the four pieces by Kreisler that Kameda played "Caprice Viennois," "Liebesfreud," Liebesleid" and "Schon Rosmarin." Kameda captured the charm and Viennese nonchalance of these pieces in his captivating performance.
Accompanying Kameda in the Sarasate and Kreisler was pianist Megumi Masaki, in a collaboration that was imaginative, intelligent and sensitive.
The two also gave a finely structured and earnest performance of Hindemith's Sonata for Violin and Piano in E flat Major, op. 11, no. 1, as well as a sensuous and passionate interpretation of Astor Piazolla's "Oblivion."
At Thursday's concert, Kameda and Masaki, together with violist Leslie Harlow and clarinetist Russell Harlow, offered the world premiere of Carlyle Sharpe's "Luge," a piece that vividly depicts the thrills and breakneck excitement of a luge run.
Kurt Bestor's "Pas de Deux Eternelle" for violin and viola was also on Thursday's program. Kameda and Leslie Harlow gave an engaging performance of this appealing piece.Russell Harlow, accompanied by Masaki, was exceptional in several short works for clarinet and piano, particularly in Schumann's "Romance," op. 94, and Gerald Finzi's "Carol," and, with Leslie Harlow, in a fine transcription of Brahms' "Cradle Song for the Christ Child," from the composer's op. 91 set of songs for alto, viola and piano.
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