By Ron Emery
“Music strikes a lighter note”
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Pianist Andre Watts seemed to enjoy his fling playing chamber usic in the Saratoga Chamber Music Festival on Sunday. His performance of the Piano Trio No. 4 in B-flat Major, Op. 11 by Beethoven with violinist Chantal Juillet and cellist Maya Beiser was his only contribution to a stellar afternoon of music by Beethoven, Debussy and Tan Dun, the composer-in-residence at SPAC this season.
The other piece from the standard repertory was Claude Debussy’s three-movement Sonata No. 2 for flute, viola and harp, which brought Jeffrey Khaner, Burchard Tang and Elizabeth Hainen in for a riveting performance of the Debussy, a late work, written amid the outbreak of World War I. Terse and austere. Debussy’s moving sonata was played with obvious affection by the musicians, who played it sensitively and expressively.
At the end of the second half was “Circle with Four Trios, Conductor and Audience,” with Tan Dun conducting players and audience who sighed and shouted on cue. You don’t have to visit Paris for the latest music.
Ron Emery, Times Union, Albany, NY