A Christmas Journey Near Carnegie Hall

Holidays at the Rosens

By: - Dec 24, 2015

Joe Rosen, impresario, musician and performer, puts on special salon chamber events in his home.

Taisiya Pucker, a special pianist who accompanies and performs solo seemingly at will, often introduces composers and compositions to be performed. She is deeply informed, but never officious.  This Saturday afternoon she gave us a musical tour through through continents, epochs, emotions and sound.

Taisiya invited her friend Anita Zhula, a violinist with Lincoln Center’s Chamber Music Society, to join in.

Zhula’s contribution to the trio, with Rosen on the clarinet and Pushkar at the keyboard, was a holiday treat. She makes the pleasure she takes in music-making evident, whether she tears up and down scales, loud and fast, or delicately embraces decorations.

The concert began with a charming Darius Milhaud Suite, Op. 157b for violin, piano and clarinet. Although Rosen dares to play the role of other instruments on the clarinet in pieces he selects that do not include the clarinet, the Milhaud was created for specifically for that instrument.

Milhaud must have enjoyed the sounds of the clarinet. Almost fifteen years before he composed this Suite, Milhaud had composed Le Boeuf sur let Toit.  In Boeuf he figured out the specific tones and texture of the clarinet and learned to merge it perfectly with other instruments. We could hear its presence in the sound clouds of the piano and violin.

A Bach Concerto swept us up in the holiday spirit.

The first half of the program concluded with a Gian Carlo Menotti Trio. Once at a holiday performance of Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors at Lincoln Center, the composer came on stage at its conclusion. Looking out at the young members of the audience, and echoing Amahl’s story, he asked if anyone had problems with their mothers?  Every hand went up.

Aram Katchaturian’s Trio was a highlight of the concert. The virtuosity of each instrumentalist was on display. The moods of the movements drastically changed, marking gypsy tones and mournful joy.

Pushkar seemed to particularly enjoy introducing the composer. As a mini-conductor, she led the piece and its emotional colors.

A fan of the music of Rick Sowash. Rosen concluded with Sunny Days, a bon bon for the afternoon.   Sowash's lyrical phrases rang out, capturing current American music.

A concert at the Rosens is a perfect way to end the year and bring in the New.