Regional Reviews: Florida - West Coast
Richard began to emerge as a concert artist in the late 1960s, and really cemented his reputation with 10 years at the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont. Peter John has made his reputation as a teacher and jazz artist. The father-son duo has a recording which incorporates some of the material offered at this concert.
The first half of the program was devoted to the music of Leonard Bernstein, first the "Sonata for Clarinet and Piano." As this is a very early work, all of the stylistic things thought of as characteristically Bernstein were not in abundance and I did not find the work particularly interesting. Next up was "Build My House" from Bernstein's version of Peter Pan. It is a lovely melody, not as well known as it should be, and I was sorry that the audience, most of whom were probably unfamiliar with it, did not get to hear the lyrics, which are lovely ("Build my house of wood. Build my house of stone. Build my house of brick and mortar"). Next was West Side Story suite, arranged by Peter John Stoltzman which included "Jet Song," Something's Coming," "Somewhere," "Maria," "I Have a Love," and "Tonight." Jazz artist that he is, Peter John ornamented the basic tunes quite a bit.
The second half opened with four songs by Charles Ives, culled from several different sources. Two, "At the River" and "In the Mornin'," are New England hymns, fairly straightforward in their settings. The other two, "Serenity" and "The Cage," represent the quirkier side of the composer, both in text and settings.
George Gershwin took up the later part of this half, beginning with "Three Preludes for Piano," adapted for clarinet and piano, arrangement by Jay Gach. This arrangement makes the Three Preludes sound as if they were written to include the clarinet. The use of the clarinet uses the sound pallette from the opening of "Rhapsody in Blue" which also has prominent clarinet solos. Next came selections from Porgy and Bess in two different segments. "There's a Boat Dat's Leavin' Soon for New York," "I Loves You, Porgy" and "I Got Plenty o' Nuttin'" were each presented as a separate selection, then a suite wove together "It Ain't Necessarily So," "Prayer," "Summertime" and "Lullaby." I liked the first three selections because they stayed close to Gershwin's original, but not so much the suite. Both parts were well played.
For an encore, Richard and Peter John moved beyond Gershwin to Dave Brubeck's "Blue Rondo à la Turk" with its audacious 9/8 rhythm. What a great way to send the audience home be-bopping.
Thanks always to Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota for bringing interesting performers to our doorstep. Sarasota's artistic world would be much less bright without them. Next weekend they are presenting The Stan Kenton Big Band in Venice and there are several other interesting programs coming up, so check their website.
Richard Stoltzman and Peter John Stoltzman, March 9 and 10, 2019, by Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota at the Historic Asolo Theater, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota FL. Box Office 941-306-1201. For more information, please visit artistseriesconcerts.org.