Sunday, May 22, 2016

Bach to Broadway

On Saturday afternoon David and I were invited to attend a recital in the enormous Music Barn of David and Dominique Low in Norfolk, CT, an amazing building once used to store hay and now used to store wonderful musical sounds.

The sounds were especially wonderful this time, being produced by the virtuosic fingers of harpsichordist Leonard Schmid on a gorgeous instrument built by my friend Carl Dudash. Carl and I attend the same Cardiac Fitness Class in Winsted, CT and talk about music.

Image result for leonard schmid harpsichord    Leonard Schmid

Mr. Schmid's program included Troisième Ordre (Pièces de Clavecin, Livre I) by François Couperin, the Chromatic Fantasy in D Minor and Partita No. 2 in D minor by Johann Sebastian Bach, and the Chaconne in G Major by George Friedrich Handel. The Partita was arranged by Mr. Schmid from the original which was for solo violin.

In the Couperin Mr. Schmid played in wonderful French Baroque style with delightful ornamentation and plenty of Notes Inégales. In the Bach and Handel his agile and musical fingers sped up and down the keyboards with ease and dexterity. He is a bona fide virtuoso. Bravo!

Image result for carl dudash harpsichords       Carl Dudash with his wife, who does the decorations on his instruments.

The Harpsichord by Carl Dudash is a wonderful double and has great variety and beautiful sound. Another Bravo  to Carl! 

In my ill-spent youth I played the harpsichord. I had a Sperrhake instrument from Germany and studied with the late great Gustav Leonhardt. He was a wonderful performer and teacher. One critic called him 'The greatest keyboard performer of the century'. Any keyboard!I also took a class with him on Baroque ornamentation. Ah, those Golden years of long ago!  John and I once visited him in his church in Amsterdam, the Waalse Kerk, to play the organ. The Waalse Kerk was the church of the Waloons. One of my Dutch ancestors, Judith Janse, was a Waloon!


This is going to be a double decker blog! 

Tonight (Sunday), David and I saw Donna McKechnie in her cabaret act 'Same Place, Another Time' at Mr. Finn's Cabaret at Barrington Stage. I have seen various other performers in this 'Downstairs' venue and tonight was a bit of a disappointment.

Image result for donna mckechnie

Ms. McKechnie won a Tony for her performance in A Chorus Line in 1976. I saw the show back then and it  had a long run on Broadway as well as on tour worldwide.

That was then.

Ms. McKechnie still looks pretty good at age 74 but having had arthritis doesn't move as well as she did back then. I don't think her singing voice was ever distinctive, and while she can still belt, it still isn't much of a voice.

Many of the songs were unfamiliar to me and may have been written especially for the show.Several times she had to ask her very fine pianist what came next or to fill her in on the words to the song she was singing and had forgotten. This is just not very professional.

Overall this was not a great evening of theatre. Give me Amanda McBroome!!