There was another full house on Saturday, January 26th at the first of the 2013 Marlow Series concerts and Ana Vidovic did not disappoint her attentive audience.
Attendees braved -30 degree temperatures to hear this vibrant talent serenade them with a program that included some of the all time favorites of the classical guitar repertoire. We were fortunate to have Ana back for her third appearance and it was easy to understand how she has claimed international awards such as The Fernando Sor and Francisco Tarrega Competitions when she featured their work on this concert’s list of little jewels. Her selections, too, prove how versatile she is at interpreting a range of styles from Baroque with J.S. Bach’s beautifully mastered BWV 998 to Walton’s Five Bagatelles composed for Julian Bream who commissioned them.
Ana gave us a refreshing order of composers by mixing up the periods a bit so we were not hearing a strict chronology of music. That kind of programming reminds us that, in whichever age an artist composes, fine music is timeless when tested against the backdrop of history.
Ana gave us Turina’s Op. 61 Sonata with its tonally mixed arpeggios, soft, delicate swells, and sensitive, oh so lovely, Andante preceding a rapidly articulated Allegro Vivo. Sor’s Variations on a Theme by Mozart, Op. 9 lightened the evening with sweetly, playful cat-and-mouse like runs chasing each other around the neck of the instrument. Tarrega’s pensive Recuerdos de la Alhambra was freshly conceived and brought the listeners forward as it faded to its pianissimo close. And, Albeniz’ Granada with its wonderful dynamic range followed by Asturias showed us how breathtaking this lady’s pianissimos can be.
The second half of the program began with J.S.Bach’s Prelude, Fugue and Allegro (BWV 998). As much as one can appreciate the mastery of Spanish composers of the guitar, one can never go wrong with the German J.S.B. The man’s a hands-down genius and hearing this piece so capably handled, even when the Allegro could easily run away with the performer, or vice-versa, was worth the evening alone.
Mangore’s La Catedral, a piece I’d never heard, had a nice ring to it with the opening notes sounding like high, bell tones which descend into the middle range of the instrument followed by a spiritually cast Andante, and ending with a terrific Allegro with arpeggios flying over a repeated drone so meticulously executed. Walton’s Five Bagatelles were the final work of the evening and I couldn’t help thinking of Satie’s Gymnopedies in the Lento with the Sempre espressivo’s quiet roaring after it like a locomotive forging on across an open plain.
We certainly do look forward to having Ana back again. There’s a reason why some performers return over the years, and this one demonstrated clearly why she’s a favorite.
Next concert: Saturday, February 16, 2013. Joao Paulo Figueiroa of Brazil. Please join us.
Silver Spring, MD