WarnerNuzova Brings Beethoven to the Phillips

WarnerNuzova performing in the Music Room (Photo by Benjamin Resine)

(Photo by Benjamin Resine)

Cellist Wendy Warner and pianist Irina Nuzova of the duo WarnerNuzova performed the complete Beethoven Cello Sonatas and Variations over two consecutive Sundays in April.  The concerts were a rare chance to experience impeccably refined artists giving respect to the breadth of Beethoven’s development as a composer from 1796 through 1815.  The juxtaposition of these works for one medium in such an intimate setting made me feel like I could understand Beethoven better as a human, not just a powerful music icon.  The struggle of his intellectual growth both musically and politically along with his steps toward more personal expression and then reflection was palpable.

Click below to listen to an excerpt of the Allegro from Beethoven’s “Sonata No. 1 in F Major, Op. 5, No. 1″ (1796)

Click below to listen to the Allegro: Allegro fugato from “Sonata No. 5 in D Major, Op. 102, No. 2″ (1815)

Casey Fox Smith, Music Program Intern

Bobby goes to SunTrust

Robert McDuffie performs in the Music Room (Photo by James Brantley)

We were lucky enough to have the American virtuoso violinist Robert McDuffie open the 2010-11 Sunday Concerts season.  Accompanying McDuffie were students and colleagues from the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University.

During the Coda Session with Music Director Caroline Mousset, McDuffie showed his Southern gentlemanly wit.  Click below to listen to his account of his initial meeting with James Williams, former chairman of SunTrust Bank, to get investors to help him purchase his extraordinary violin, a Joseph Guarnerius del Gesu from 1735.

The final piece on the concert program gave a glimpse of Violin Concerto No. 2 “The American Four Seasons” with a clever transition into Violin Concerto No. 1, both composed for Robert McDuffie by Baltimore’s Philip Glass. Click here to listen to McDuffie performing the Glass compositions.

Glenn Gould’s American Debut

Original concert program

Once upon a Sunday afternoon in January 1955, Glenn Gould, one of the most admired and talented pianists of the twentieth century, gave his debut recital in the United States here at The Phillips Collection.  I could argue with myself, and sadly, I often do, whether or not Gould is my favorite pianist.  His unique, off-the-cuff yet thoughtful interpretations gave life to every note he played.  Even at this young age his individuality is evident, beginning the concert with Renaissance composer Orlando Gibbons and ending it with the Romantic Expressionist, Alban Berg.

The Phillips Camerata – the museum’s first-ever namesake resident ensemble - will make their debut this fall performing Gould’s String Quartet, Op. 1 to celebrate the mark that the artist had on The Phillips Collection.

Casey Fox Smith, Music Program Intern