Three and a half stars
Faculty Artist Series; Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center; March 19.
William Harvey, violin, and Richard Ratliff, piano, both began and ended this varied program with Bartok Rhapsody Nos. 1 and 2. I could not have thought of better pieces for bookends. Harvey has a passionate way of bringing out Bartok’s folk and gypsy background. Add to that Richard Ratliff’s piano accompaniment, which was always precise and sensitive to his counterpart, and you have great music-making. Between the Bartok works were newer pieces, one being Cristobal Halffter’s Sonata for Violin. Before playing, Harvey described some of the folk themes and guitar elements for the audience to listen for, but when played, those sections never seemed long enough to be grasped. The piece also seemed spastic in its composition and intent. Robert Muczynski’s piece for clarinet, cello and piano, Fantasy Trio, followed and, unfortunately, had balance issues. Unless playing the melodic line, cellist Ingrid Fischer Bellman was often very difficult to hear and had pitch issues in the upper register. Michael Hunt’s Ursa Major-Minor was enjoyable, with its appropriate astral feel and enigmatic quality, aided by Ratliff’s fine playing.