24 June 2014

Noontime Concerts: Shauna Fallihee and Miles Graber lead us through a dappled wood

Today at lunch I went back to Old St Mary's Cathedral to hear soprano Shauna Fallihee and pianist Miles Graber performing songs by Wolf and Debussy, presented by Noontime Concerts, though they're really more like 12:45 concerts. The sets alternated between the two composers, creating a unified but artfully varied mood of pining love, fresh spring hopes, trembling flowers, delicate shades of long-beloved trees, wistful regrets and delirious hopes, right there under the shadowy arches of the old cathedral. Graber was a sensitive, evocative accompanist, and Fallihee had an ardent, pure but also expressive voice, clear like a stream; her hair was pulled back and she wore a long white sleeveless dress, looking like a young woman who would indeed be found searching the woods for satyrs and naiads, as she does in one of the Debussy songs (Le Tombeau de naïades). The Wolf selections were all from the Mörike Lieder; in between the three groups of three Wolf songs, we had Debussy's Trois Chansons de Bilitis and then another set of three, the Fêtes Galantes, an evocatively Watteau-like title. I had a lovely time. Outside we could hear the occasional rush of traffic, which seemed farther away than it was, and the occasional hovering strains of the erhu-player, who is familiar to all who walk past the cathedral on the Grant Avenue side on their way to the heart of Chinatown.

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