Review: IVCI laureate series, Vol. 2

Harpist Agnes Clement

Indiana History Center; Nov. 8

Lesson learned? Never schedule a concert for the evening following

any election during this consequential

time in which we live. It's guaranteed to keep people home, and was surely the

cause for the relatively smaller turnout for a series which usually well fills

the IHC's Basile Theater. However, those who usually attend and didn't this

time missed an evening of luscious harp playing, dominating the 11 offerings. They

were nicely complemented by 2010's International Violin Competition of


sixth-place laureate, Andrey Baranov and piano accompanist Miki


The harpist was 21-year-old Agnès Clément, first prize

winner of the eighth USA International Harp Competition in Bloomington

-- also from 2010. Solo harp playing is

rarely heard in local environs, yet just two weeks ago, the Indianapolis Chamber

Orchestra hosted Czech Republic

harpist and international concertizer, Jana Boušková. Though they say good

things come in threes, I see no more harpist appearances in the offing.

Camille Saint-Saëns' late-written (1907) Fantasie for Violin

and Harp, Op. 124 began the proceedings, with Clément's arpeggiated rolls

giving the, by then, conservative Romantic composer an impressionistic quality.

Baranov's violin occasionally overshadowed Clément's delicate strums with

somewhat brash, overpowering bowing.

Then we had five harp solos, completing the first half,

Clément creating her magic across many eras, with music by Manuel de Falla

(1876-1946), Claude Debussy (1862-1918), Jean Phillipe Rameau (1683-1764),

Michael Maganuco (b. 1987) and Elias Parish-Alvars (1808-1849). Having

witnessed so few of them in my lifetime, I confess to lacking the ability to

judge harp-playing nuances. Given this qualification,

Clément's strumming throughout sounded masterful, her notes right on target and

her dynamic shading wholly apropos. She seemed to produce a lighter

sound than Boušková, who also appeared to have a larger instrument.

Baranov joined Clément after the break for Debussy's La plus que lente, just one of many

instrument combinations for which the composer arranged this waltz. Baranov

continued to dominate excessively. But for the next three pieces, it was a

Baranov-Aoki -- violin-piano -- duo: Shostakovich's 4 Preludes, Op. 34;

Tchaikovsky's Valse-Scherzo, also Op.

34; Pablo de Sarasate's very well known Zigeunerweisen

(a Spanish composition with a very German moniker), Op. 20 No. 1. Here Baranov

better impressed with not only more contained bowing control, but managing the

latter piece's manifest difficulties with great dispatch.

Violinist and harpist rejoined for the final number, "Tango

Nightclub 1960," by that Argentine tango master, Astor Piazzolla (1921-1992). That's

when we had the standing ovation.


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