Violin/piano duo brings Phelps audience to its feet

Editor’s note: Julian Shepherd is the husband of  BAMirror reviewer Lee Shepherd and, like her, an accomplished string musician.

Reviewed by Julian Shepherd

You probably keep track of the Tri-Cities Opera and Binghamton Philharmonic Orchestra schedules, but do you know that there is (and has been for a few years) an excellent series of chamber concerts on the second Sunday of each month at the Phelps Mansion Museum, 191 Court St., Binghamton?

Yesterday afternoon (Sept. 10), Uli Speth, concertmaster of the BPO, and Maxim Pakhomov, a pianist from New York City, played an outstanding concert of violin and piano masterpieces. Among them were two of the best-loved violin showpieces, the “Chaconne” from Partita No. 2 by J. S. Bach and The Lark Ascending by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Both have considerable technical difficulties for the violin, e.g. long series of double-stops and ascents into very high registers, which Speth carried off with great expertise and feeling.

Pakhomov’s skill was particularly evident in Mozart’s Violin Sonata in G Major and the final extravaganza, Schubert’s Fantasy in C Major (“Sei mir gegrüsst”), which he and Speth played with both delicacy and great gusto, and also incomparable skill. For these efforts, they received an almost rowdy, standing ovation from the audience.

The next two concerts will be another violin/piano duo, Erika Tazawa and Mao Omura, on Oct. 14, and a classical saxophone/piano duo, Joel Diegert (formerly of Vestal) and Mariam Vardzelashvili, on Nov.  18 (nota bene: the third Sunday). I highly recommend giving this series a hearing. Tickets are a very reasonable $10 and available at the door.

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