Patrons of the Delta-Montrose Community Concert Association celebrated their Baldwin grand piano in grand style last Friday evening at the Delta County Performing Arts Center. Two local pianists of outstanding talent — Susan Ellinger and Andrea Arese-Elias — played for a good-sized crowd.
They demonstrated not only their own musical virtuosity, but also the amazing dynamic range and tone of the Baldwin, which the association acquired in 2011 to replace its 1913 Steinway. Ellinger is artist-in-residence at the Paonia Blue Sage Center for the Arts and Dr. Arese-Elias is piano instructor and collaborative pianist at Colorado Mesa University.
The concert opened with a delightful performance of the Concerto in F Major by Franz Joseph Haydn featuring Ellinger as soloist, accompanied by a superb string quartet from the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra. The first and third movements were crisp and lively with Ellinger deftly handling the intricate passage work. The quartet, comprised of concertmaster Carlos Elias, violinist Alisha Bean, cellist Kristen Yeon-Ji Yn and violist Michelle Berry, provided an excellent account of the orchestral part and added immeasurably to the audience's enjoyment of the evening.
As a soloist, Ms. Ellinger performed two additional numbers for the balance of the first half of the night's program. She exhibited her very expressive feel for the piano in her performance of Frederic Chopin's Ballade No. 4 in F Minor. Taking a slightly slower tempo than some performers, she convincingly projected the beauty and grace of this work. She then concluded with a lovely and soothing interpretation of Claude Debussy's ever popular Clair de Lune. Members of the audience expressed their appreciation with ardent applause.
After a brief intermission, Dr. Arese-Elias began her portion of the concert with an exciting performance of Domenico Scarlatti's Sonata in E Major, L 430. Although petite physically, she met the technical demands of the sonata with considerable ease. The next work in her program was Chopin's Andante Spianato and Grand Polonaise Brillante, a piece requiring both bravura and delicate playing which she achieved admirably. The audience acknowledged her skill with great enthusiasm. This was followed by a stunning performance of Maurice Ravel's Alborada del Gracioso, with its Spanish-influenced themes and rhythms. Her concluding piece was a rousing performance of Alberto Ginastera's Malambo — a dance number from her native Argentina — which provided a fitting climax to an evening of outstanding piano playing by both featured artists. The proficiency of the quartet and the technical skill of the two pianists throughout the evening attested to the remarkable musical talent with which we in the tri-county area are blessed.
The next Delta-Montrose Community Concert offers a comedic change of pace with "Classical Gas" scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 5, at the Performing Arts Center at 9th and Grand in Delta. This show features pianist Rich Ridenour and comedian/violinist Steve Brook presenting high octane classic gems fueled with humor and charm. More information about this concert is online at www.deltamontroseconcerts.com. For those who are not members of the DMCCA, tickets will be available only at the door on the night of the performance. The cost is $20 for adults and $5 for students. If you have any questions, please contact the association's secretary, Bob Brown, at 835-4480.blog comments powered by Disqus