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-- Ronni Reich
Daniel Schlosberg and Ryan de Ryke
Austrian composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold died 50 years ago. The round-numbered anniversary has generated commemorative concerts across the country, including one Friday night at the Austrian Embassy, which paired Korngold with his compatriot Ernst Krenek.
Reuniting these two contemporary yet contrary composers was the brainchild of young pianist Daniel Schlosberg, a Korngold enthusiast who brought both passion and intellect to his performance of the nearly forgotten Piano Sonata No. 2.
The 30-minute sonata is a tremendous creation, considering Korngold was all of 13 when he wrote it in 1910. It's brimming with ideas, perhaps too many. For all its complex harmonies, heroic octaves, smoldering wisps of melody and restless rhythms, the composition ultimately feels forced -- like a 13-year-old trying to act 30. The rumbling Largo seems racked with pain, but one wonders how much pain such a wunderkind can really have known.
Songs by Korngold were also on display, sung by the warm-voiced baritone Ryan de Ryke. He found vivid drama in visually oriented songs such as the "Night Wanderer," with its eerie ride. His voice is still young, and it showed in the technically challenging Op. 18 songs. Refinements of diction, phrasing and coloration will undoubtedly come.
While Korngold found fame composing melodic film scores in Hollywood, Krenek composed in myriad styles, embracing the thorny serialist method. But Schlosberg and de Ryke focused on Krenek's lyrical side with a set of well-built songs (Op. 56) from 1927, cast firmly in the German lieder tradition, with animated piano parts.
It was a smartly programmed evening, which presented the more experimental, Krenek side of Korngold and the sweeter, Korngold side of Krenek.
-- Tom Huizenga
Is any woman on the planet more dangerous than Eartha Kitt? Even at 80, the original sex kitten can wreak more damage on men's hearts with a simple glance than today's pop tarts can with their entire bodies. And in a funny, flirtatious, high-octane performance on Saturday night at the Warner Theater, she showed the world how to age -- not just gracefully, but magnificently.