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Black Tie International:
On The Town With Aubrey Reuben August 19, 2017



Aubrey Reuben

On the Town With Aubrey Reuben
Where All the Stars Shine Brightly!

August 19, 2017

Mostly Mozart presented two works in its third week. Before the intermission, Violin Concerto in D major, by Beethoven, was performed with soloist Thomas Zehetmair, in which he decided to perform the cadenzas Beethoven wrote for his 1807 arrangement for piano and orchestra. While interesting, it added nothing to this fine work. The soloist, while technically excellent, revealed little charisma. He offered the audience a solo encore. The second work was Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K.550, byMozart, led by a hyperactive conductor, Andrew Manze. His continual movements left to right, pointing his baton at various sections of the orchestra, while bending up and down on the podium, was an unnecessary distraction. He appeared to be doing his gymnastic exercises. That said, the orchestra played, as always, brilliantly. Both Beethoven and Mozart were well served.


The pianist Kirill Gerstein dominated the first half of my fourth visit to the Mostly Mozart Festival. He played Variations on a Theme by R. Schumann for piano solo, by Brahms, and then performed magnificently in Piano Concerto in A. minor, bySchumann. The third movement was particularly thrilling, as his fingers seemed to float quickly over the keys. He then granted the audience an encore, accompanied by a cello, of the second movement of a piano concerto composed by Clara Schumann at the age of fourteen. It was an extraordinary presentation. The concert concluded with a rousing rendition Symphony No. 1 in C minor, by Brahms. Louis Langree conducted the orchestra brilliantly. It has never played better.  Schumann and Brahms were well served in this unforgettable concert.


My final visit to David Geffen Hall to the Mostly Mozart Festival was to hear a program of three works by three composers all conducted by Louis Langree. It began with Symphony No. 1 in D major ("Classical"), by Prokofiev, followed by Symphony No. 25 in G minor, by Mozart. Following the intermission, Violin Concerto in D major, by Tchaikovsky, with Gil Shaham as soloist, was performed. When the first movement was concluded, a thunderous applause greeted the orchestra and soloist.


A bizarre situation followed. Apparently, many in the audience thought the concerto was finished and began to leave up the aisles. Eventually, the concerto was able to continue. Many in the audience have no idea about classical music. One must listen until the conclusion of a work, without interrupting with applause. That said, the program was a fitting conclusion to another wonderful Mostly Mozart Festival, with outstanding soloists in the five piano and violin concertos.


Come Light My Cigarette, written and directed by Arnold L. Cohen, at the Theatre at St. Clement's, has a three member cast, Michael J. Farina, Kaye Tuckerman and Erikka Walsh (photo below) accompanied at the piano by Mason Griffin.The two actresses carry guns in their purse, which, unfortunately, they do not use, and the male actor answers five phone calls in succession, where he utters offensive remarks about Jews, Catholics, rabbis and priests after the death of his wife. He is an obnoxious character. In ninety minutes without an intermission, they sing 18 songs, none of which leave any impression. However, the opening night party was wonderful at Etcetera Etcetera, 352 West 44th St., and the three cast members were charming in person.


Van Gogh's Ear, by Eve Wolf, is a chamber opera about the mentally disturbed artist, who cut off one ear to give to a prostitute when he was living in a small room in Arles in 1888. Carter Hudson is fine as the famous painter, who was then placed in a mental asylum, where he committed suicide. The play consists of his letters to his brother, while two singers sing various songs, accompanied by two pianist,s and  a four member string quartet. What is lovely is the projections by David Bengali of the paintings of the artist. It is an unusual theatre piece. We congratulated the cast at the opening night party at West bank Cafe.


Andy Karl (photo below) received a portrait to be hung  on the wall at Tony's di Napoli, 147 West 43rd Street. The cast of Groundhog Day and his wife Orfeh attended the unveiling as Emcee/host Valerie Smaldone spoke and the restaurant manager Bruce Dimpflmaier provided a delicious  buffet dinner and an open bar. It was a splendid party.



Gerard Mc Keon and Joyce Brooks.  Photo by:  Rose Billings/

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