NEW ON CD – “Live from the Marlboro Music Festival”

The Marlboro Music Festival launches a series of live recordings of great chamber performances chosen by Artistic Directors Mitsuko Uchida and Richard Goode

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Sean Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

Each summer since 1951, some of the world’s most distinguished musicians and exceptional young artists have gathered for seven weeks on the campus of Marlboro College in southern Vermont to create a community like no other – The Marlboro Music School & Festival. To coincide with the festival’s 60th anniversary this month, the Marlboro Recording Society begins a series devoted to releasing memorable live performances from the festival never previously issued commercially. These concert recordings – dating from past decades to the present day – have been personally selected by the artistic directors of Marlboro, esteemed pianists Mitsuko Uchida and Richard Goode. The release of this series is in partnership with ArkivMusic, the first three albums are now available digitally and on CD August 30th, via Naxos Distribution. Further releases will come quarterly.

Marlboro artistic directors Mitsuko Uchida and Richard Goode are but two of today’s leading musical figures who credit their youthful summers at Marlboro as among their most important influences. Since 2000, the two pianists have led Marlboro Music, sharing fresh ideas and their personal inspiration while celebrating the basic principles, structure and standards of the founders – in particular Rudolf Serkin, who was the community’s visionary and guiding spirit for 40 years.

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MITSUKO UCHIDA and RICHARD GOODE

“There is something very special about the sense of community at Marlboro that’s really touching and wonderful,” says Goode. “It’s because the musical experience and the personal experience come together, so it gets a sort of cumulative energy and warmth – and that’s a lovely thing.”

Uchida adds, “That’s the one factor that is most important at Marlboro. We live together, we eat together, we make music together – and we breathe music. I travel so much during the season. . . Where else on earth are you with the same set of people for five weeks, six weeks, seven weeks? You don’t have it in today’s world, so this changes you.”

According to ArkivMusic general manager Jon Feidner, the partnership between the Marlboro Recording Society and ArkivMusic is “a great opportunity to share the rare atmosphere of Marlboro with classical music lovers everywhere. You can really hear how special that warmth and intimacy is in these performances.”

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Mozart/Beethoven/Schubert: Chamber Music

This recording celebrates the art and influence of cellist David Soyer, founding member of the Guarneri String Quartet (formed at Marlboro in 1964) and a link to the great cello tradition of Pablo Casals and Emanuel Feuermann (two of his teachers). An inspirational figure at Marlboro as musician and mentor, Soyer first appeared at Marlboro in 1961, and he was still performing at the festival into his eighties, when these recordings were made. About Soyer and these performances, Mitsuko Uchida says: “I learned so much from David, from the way he played, from the way he could make the cello sound with such unbelievable accuracy, simplicity and honesty. . . In the ‘Archduke,’ but also in the slow movement of the Schubert E-flat Trio, I think nobody else ever played like that, apart from Casals. There was a quality of David’s that was so moving, every time.”

Featured Selections:
MOZART: Quintet in D Major, K. 593 (recorded in 2005): Sarah Kapustin, violin; Diana Cohen, violin; Mark Holloway, viola; Sebastian Krunnies, viola; David Soyer, cello.
BEETHOVEN: Trio in B-flat Major, Op. 97 “Archduke” (recorded 2006): Mitsuko Uchida, piano; Soovin Kim, violin; David Soyer, cello.   
SCHUBERT: Piano Trio in E-flat Major, D. 929: II. Andante con moto (recorded 2008):Mitsuko Uchida, piano; Soovin Kim, violin; David Soyer, cello.

Vocal chamber music has always been a part of the varied repertoire of Marlboro. Artistic directors Richard Goode and Mitsuko Uchida believe that the lieder tradition offers invaluable musical lessons for instrumentalists as well as singers. This album’s recording of Shostakovich’s 11 Songs on Hebrew Folk Themes offers a 1967 performance by vocalists Benita Valente, Glenda Maurice and Jon Humphrey with pianist Luis Batlle, who has been a key member of the Marlboro vocal department for decades. These artists introduced this evocative work to audiences around the country on a Musicians from Marlboro tour in 1968; while later performances of the songs at Marlboro have been sung in Russian, the edition available in the late’ 60s was in German, which is what is heard on this recording.

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Respighi/Cuckson/Shostakovich: Vocal Chamber Music

Featured Selections:
RESPIGHI: Il Tramonto (recorded 2010):Jennifer Johnson, mezzo-soprano; Ida Levin, violin; Yonah Zur, violin; Beth Guterman, viola; Saeunn Thorsteinsdottir, cello.
ROBERT CUCKSON: Der gayst funem shturem (recorded 2010): Jennifer Johnson, mezzo-soprano; Sarah Beaty, clarinet; Angela Cordell Bilger, horn; Sivan Magen, harp; Ida Levin, violin; Yonah Zur, violin; Beth Guterman, viola; Saeunn Thorsteinsdottir, cello; Zachary Cohen, double-bass.
SHOSTAKOVICH: Songs on Hebrew Folk Themes, for soprano, alto, tenor and piano, Op. 79 (recorded 1967):Benita Valente, soprano; Glenda Maurice, mezzo-soprano; Jon Humphrey, tenor; Luis Batlle, piano.

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DEBUSSY/RAVEL: Chamber Music

This album’s performance of the Ravel Introduction et Allegro was captured at Marlboro in 2010, while the Debussy String Quartet recording is taken from a Musicians from Marlboro tour performance at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 2002. Both works were led by violinist Joseph Lin, who joined the Juilliard String Quartet in 2011. The cellist in the Debussy was David Soyer. The Ravel String Quartet was also featured on a Musicians from Marlboro tour, with the recording on this release made at the Gardner Museum in 2007.

Featured Selections:
DEBUSSY: Quartet in G Minor, Op. 10 (recorded 2002):Joseph Lin, violin; Judy Kang, violin; Richard O’Neill, viola; David Soyer, cello.
RAVEL: Introduction et Allegro (recorded 2010): Sivan Magen, harp; Joshua Smith, flute; Moran Katz, clarinet; Joseph Lin, violin; Benjamin Beilman, violin; Luke Fleming, viola; Marie-Elisabeth Hecker, cello.
RAVEL: String Quartet in F Major (recorded 2007):Soovin Kim, violin; Jessica Lee, violin; Jonathan Vinocour, viola; Soo Bae, cello.

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.

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