On Tuesday evening Hidden Valley Music Seminars presented the last of its Master Class concerts with a splendid recital by cellist Mark Kosower and pianist Jee-Won Oh. The parking lot was full and there was not an empty seat inside the hall. In fact, shortly after 7:40 pm, Peter Meckel himself had to bring in a few more single chairs. I had seen seldom the house so full.
When Mark Kosower and the Korean pianist came out onto the red carpet, Kosower only spoke a few words after which we heard the lovely first lines of Beethoven’s Seven Variations from Mozart’s “Magic Flute,” Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen. The powerfully resonant cello sounds we heard I will never forget. We knew at once that something very special was taking place. We never heard during the two hours a cello accompanied by piano, for they were always equal partners in a masterful collaboration.
Next we heard the Cello Sonata No. 2 by Gabriel Fauré. The three movements demonstrated all the aspects of a magnificently crafted sonata, magnificently interpreted.
Kosower then gave us a solo — the Violin Partita No.1 by Bach, arranged by himself for the unaccompanied cello. He explained that Bach sometimes did not specify exclusively for which instrument a work was written. We heard three movements Double and one Double Presto. In one of the movements I had never before heard a piece played so incredibly fast and brilliantly, and it seemed I was not alone for there was a spontaneous burst of applause and audible expressions of pleasure. Not to be interrupted, Kosower smiled and continued,
After the intermission there was a work for cello and piano, Opus 39, by Ernest Chausson and the Sonata in C, Opus 65, by Benjamin Britten written in 1961. Kosower explained that those were difficult times in England and especially for a gay man.
The concluding work was a very short piece, “Gopak” — Danse Russe — by Modest Mussorgsky. It was a great ending to a wonderful evening. The audience gave the the artists loud and heartfelt standing ovations.
Peter Meckel invited us all to a sumptuous buffet, and lastly thanked especially the page turner, a Chinese pianist herself, whose first and last name he could never remember correctly, a faithful helper each year at the master classes.
After these wonderful music-filled hours, I had the feeling that many of us were reluctant to go home. I will remember this evening of music making for a long time, and I look forward already to next summer’s programs.