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Gerald Carpenter: CAMA Cellist to Play Three Bs — Beethoven, Bruch and Britten

CAMA's Masterseries at the Lobero continues with a recital by authoritative cellist Mischa Maisky, accompanied on the piano by his daughter, Lily Maisky, at 8 p.m. Thursday in the Lobero Theatre.

Mischa Maisky, "the only cellist in the world to have studied with both Mstislav Rostropovich and Gregor Piatigorsky," will perform four works, including Ludwig van Beethoven's Cello-Piano Sonata No. 2 in G-Minor, Opus 5, No. 2 (1796); Astor Piazzolla's Le Grand Tango (1982), arranged for cello and piano by E. Runge and J. Ammon; Max Bruch's Kol Nidrei for Cello and [Piano], Opus 47 (1881); and Benjamin Britten's Cello-Piano Sonata in C-Major, Opus 65 (1961).

To my taste, Beethoven's five sonatas for cello and piano will ever be the gold standard for that combination. Those he published in 1796 are as great as those he published in 1815. He did not get "better" as he got older, though he does seem to have gotten more serious. To profess to discover in the later works a technical prowess not found in the early works is to imply that there is something "immature" in the latter. This is patent nonsense. Beethoven composed all of his works with, in the words of the late, lamented Robert Craft, "unimprovable art."

It is fortunate that the Piazzolla work needs no introduction, because I am not the man to provide one. I confess I am baffled by the size of his fan club, and by the longevity of his fad. He must be fun to play.

The lovely Kol Nidrei, of course, is what convinced so many music writers and scholars that Bruch was a Jew, which he was not. On the other hand, no one ever thought him a Scot on account of the Scottish Fantasy.

Maisky is known for finding his own way through a work, for bringing "a fresh and thoughtful perspective" to his performances. This may prove useful with respect to the Britten. If he can find and show us a recognizable melody in the Sonata, one that we can remember and carry away with us, then my hat's off to him.

Single tickets to this recital are $39 and $49. They can be purchased at the Lobero box office at 33 E. Canon Perdido St., by phone at 805.963.0761 or online by clicking here.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are his own.

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