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La Fenice: Reviews

FINE FIRST SHOW FOR LA FENICE

"...Strikingly beautiful sonority, tremendous technique, great rhythmic verve....This is a collection of players with virtuosity, depth and energy to spare."

Post-Standard, Syracuse, NY

DEBUT BY LA FENICE AT UNION IMPRESSIVE

"The sound was robust, the ensemble was tight and technical matters well attended to....This ensemble knows how to kick a movement off sharply, keep it flowing beautifully and make doing it seem like a whole lot of fun."

Daily Gazette, Schenectady, NY

QUARTET PLAYING IS SUPERLATIVE

"The Schumann String Quartet in A (with members of La Fenice with guest violinist Todd Phillips) was given a performance that ranks with the best quartet playing I have ever heard. This was a truly balanced quartet, with all players operating at the highest level of technical achievement and interpretive involvement."

Post-Standard, Syracuse, NY

PAUL MORAVEC: USEFUL KNOWLEDGE

"This album of music by Paul Moravec, who won the Pulitzer Prize in music in 2004, includes two vocal works and a piano solo....The composer describes the almost-20-minute Useful Knowledge: A Franklin Fantasy as a brief cantata for baritone and mixed chamber ensemble that includes oboe, string trio, piano, and glass harmonica. It uses a variety of quotes by Franklin juxtaposed in the manner of a fantasia, with little immediately apparent connection between them. Baritone Randall Scarlata sings with a warm, open tone. The use of the glass harmonica (an instrument Franklin invented) adds immeasurably to the interest of the piece, and the ensemble La Fenice and glass harmonica Player Cecilia Brauer play with great finesse."

"The disc closes with Moravec's 'personal view of Benjamin Franklin,' Useful Knowledge: A Franklin Fantasy. A cantata set to texts compiled from Franklin's own writing, the structure is cleverly conceived and presents, in mostly pithy fragments, a complex picture of the storied American. Everything smartly unfolds from the sounds of the glass harmonic (which Franklin invented and which Moravec seems to present as an "Ur-Instrument"), whose timbre is gradually picked up by the other members of the ensemble before they diverge into their own sonic worlds…. [B]aritone Randall Scarlata's singing is wonderful, his voice's warmth never falling prey to the artificiality of the balance between voice and ensemble. Moravec relies too often on text repetition to build drama, but this is a small complaint, and the overall arch shape of the 18-minute work, especially the return of the imaginative opening as a closing frame, keeps one engaged. The ensemble La Fenice (oboe and piano quartet) sounds wonderful...."

Marcus Karl Maroney - Concertonet.com (Jan, 2012)

RESOUNDING START TO THE SEASON

"Blandishing beauty, sheer headlong brilliance...clean, lively, balanced and above all, warm. This was a stellar concert."

New-Times, Newtown, CT