Pittsburgh’s Goldberg Shows Flute Mastery
Bernard Goldberg sat down in the principal flutist’s chair of the Cleveland Orchestra at the age of 21 and has been in the front row of performers on his instrument ever since-during the last 26 years as principal flutist of the Pittsburgh Symphony. So it was no surprise to hear him give an impressive display of his craft at Carnegie Recital Hall on Monday night. Dazzling fluency, varied tone color, pinpoint pitch - Mr. Goldberg had all the good qualities one hopes to find in a flutist.
His musical sympathies, moreover, are unusually wide for a symphony orchestra veteran: The program ranged from unaccompanied Bach (Sonata in A minor) to the kitchen-sink modernism of Nguyen Thien Dao, a young Vietnamese composer who studied with Messiaen in
As frequently happens in such pieces, the no-holds-barred approach to the instruments produced fleetingly attractive sonorities. But in the end it was too easy to overlook the music, which was hardly striking in itself, in the welter of gimmicks.
At the other end of the modern spectrum was Michael C. Baker’s Sonata for Flute and Piano, an easily digestible blend of French neoclassicism and impressionism by a Canadian composer who seemed under the influence of Bizet or Ibert.
Mr. Goldberg, who encountered a few breathing and phrasing problems in the first movement of Bach, sailed without trouble through Varese’s “Density 21.5,” “Blumen” Variations and an utterly ludicrous but technically fearsome “Carmen” Fantasy by Francois Borne. An accomplished pianist and musician, Patricia Prattis Jennings, gave Mr. Goldberg rocklike support in the duo pieces.
By DONAL HENAHAN
THE NEW YORK TIMES,
• BERNARD GOLDBERG Flutist
• THEO SALZMAN Cellist
• HARRY FRANKLIN Pianist
• Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826): Trio in g minor opus 63
• Jan Ladislav Dusik (Johann Ladislaus Dussek) 1760-1812: Trio in F major opus 65.
The Pittsburgh Trio has recorded a pair of interesting trios for flute, cello and piano which are rare in the record catalogue…
Members of the
...His (Dusik) Trio in F gives Harry Franklin a good vehicle, for Dusik was a piano virtuoso and wrote like it.
The local group performs quite relaxed and plays with enough emotion to make the music pleasant melody for the casual listener, and an interesting experience for the more serious musician.
By William Allan
These two early 19th century trios are both seldom - performed works which are most pleasant to listen to and enjoy. The Weber work perhaps has more musical substance but both trios are well written for the three instruments demanding virtuoso ability and musical approach. The Pittsburgh Trio is more than equal to these challenges playing with technical perfection and musical understanding. The sound is good and the balance between these three totally different instruments is acceptable.
By George Koutzen
THE NEW RECORDS,
The Pittsburgh Trio is known, other than on this disc, as The Musica Viva Trio and has been concertizing for some years. Previously with the Pittsburgh Symphony, Theo Salzman and Harry Franklin are now members of the
The Weber trio has appeared in discs before; the Dusik is a first recording. Dusik is more commonly known as Dussek,…He lived from 1760 to 1812 and was, at one time or another, a resident of many different European countries. Primarily a piano virtuoso of the same rank as Clementi and Hummel, he wrote music that is typically facile and of a surprisingly good substance…The Pittsburgh trio plays both Dusik and Weber superbly; featuring good sound, this is an altogether splendid disc.
By Enos E. Shupp, Jr.
…The Weber of 1879 is an anticipation of Mendelssohn, with some lovely things in it, and also some rather routine passagework and developments. The Dussek of c. 1805 is a smooth, melodious work, handsomely composed, ingratiating.
Now here is the way a classic trio should play on records. Three performers, playing chamber music and making it sound like chamber music in spite of big liveness and lots of space in the recorded product. Good. All three instruments, in fact, are almost more than real, very flutey, cello-ish, pianistic. Quite an uncanny sense of their actual presence. No distortion whatever and fully Dolbyized for that velvety background…This record doesn’t sound like a recording. And that’s a compliment!
Weber is, of course, the famed opera and overture composer of the turn of the 19th century. Dusik is better know in the Germanized spelling, Dussek…He was very well known in his day, if a second-line composer in our later view.
You guessed it. Or maybe you didn’t. Dusik wins, hands, bows, and fingers down. A really splendid, heartfelt, rich piece, out of the Beethoven era but full of a Dvorakian charm and grace. We sense that in this music we are hearing Dusik at his all-out best—this is no quickie work but a real labor of musical love. You’ll like it.
Weber, potentially a much bigger man, is just as clearly turning out what Dr. William B. Ober in his engaging program notes barely manages to avoid calling a potboiler. (He couldn’t say that, after all.) Weber was an opera man, a big-drama man, apt with a clarinet, an orchestra, a virtuoso piano. This chamber-music stuff did indeed cramp his style. There are fine flashes of Weber melody and a lot of sheer originality. But half the time one hears Weber somehow saying, now what’ll I do next?
By Edward Tatnall Candy
During concert appearances under the name of Musica Viva Trio, the group has been praised for “high musicianship,” “sparkling and polished performance,” and each player was “found to be a virtuoso in his own right.”…The trio plays beautifully, and gives us recordings of unusual chamber music – von Weber (know mostly by opera buffs, clarinet players, and the arranger of Benny Goodman’s “Let’s Dance”) – wrote only three chamber works, and Dussek’s work (known to practically nobody) is recorded here for the first time. It is lovely music, of a nearly – forgotten – by – some era, but a pleasure to play or to hear.
By Kenneth L. Neidig
Letter to Mr. Harry Franklin,
“What exceptionally beautiful pianism in the Weber/Dusik trio! I cannot praise it enough, and wish I might hear more of it.”
By Irving Schwerke,
(International music critic, musician, writer, lecturer, teacher)
We might mention that it (Weber Trio) has been recorded handsomely by our own Pittsburgh Musica Viva Trio on a Turnabout disc.
By Dr. James C. Hunter