Back on Monday, July 7 I gave my first public recital in, well, years. What can I say? I've been too busy making a living (and having too much of a blast) to put in the time and undergo the stress inherent in putting together a first-rate solo performance. That said, there's something about receiving an invitation to give a recital that is almost impossible to resist. It's like taking the car in for a tune-up. It may run fine, and get the job done, but is it really performing like it could? Preparing for this recital was my long-overdue tune-up and after a fantastic experience, I can't wait to do it again. Particular thanks to my incredible collaborative pianist Marina Radiushina and to Andrew Eng and Angelia Cho of the New England Chamber Music Festival for providing the opportunity.
And yeah - the program got reviewed in the Times Argus, the local Montpelier newspaper. No review can ever be as gratifying as the energy received from hundreds of rapt listeners, and the knowledge that you made some people's lives just a little better on that day, but this happens to be a particularly gratifying review, and I'm thankful to Jim Lowe for writing it and I'm happy to share it below:
Native son shines in festival opener
By JIM LOWE, STAFF WRITER
MONTPELIER The New England Chamber Music Festival opened with the auspicious return of a native son Monday at the Unitarian Church.
Violinist jesse Irons, a Berlin native now prominent in the Boston music world, was joined in an impressive recital by Ukrainian-American Marina Radiushina, initiating the public concerts of the two-week residential music school.
Easily the most soulfully rewarding. as well as musically successñil, were the Three Romances, Opus 94, by Robert Schumann. More like the composer's masterly songs than his usual questionable violin writing, they seemed to express the tumultuous nature of love.
All that warmth and beauty, as well as sturm und drang, was expressed in a truly integrated performance by Irons and Radìushina. Irons played with a nuanced expressiveness, employing his silken but warm sound. Radiushìna enjoyed Schumann’s pianistìc writing in the same nuanced manner. It was a truly rewarding collaboration.
Irons proved his virtuosìty as well as his extroverted musical nature in Tomaso Vitali’s Chaconne in g minor, a romanticized take on a Baroque masterpiece. Irons played not only with clarity and precision, his warmth, incisive rhythms and passion made for an exciting and satisfying performance. Radiushina managed her accompanying role sensitively and effectively.
Irons opened the program with Heinrich Ignaz von Biber`s Passacaglia in g minor, an ïmriguing early Baroque work. Employing a Baroque bow, a bit “bowed” rather that long and straight, the violinist benefited from his early music expertise exploring this hauntingly beautiful work. Irons took a more fantasy-like than rhythmically incisive approach, emphasizing the work’s lyricism. It was fascinating.
Least successful was Beethoven's Sonata No. 5 in F Major, "Spring," for violin and piano. 1rons` overemphasis of accents, indeed adding many, took away the cohesion of the first movement, while Radiushìna was a bit too exuberant. Still, the slow movement, Adagio molto espressìvo, was just that - it was exquisite.
Irons is proof that we Vermonters not only import topnotch talent, we export it.
The Boston-based New England Chamber Music Festival, now in its second year of collaboration with Montpelier's Monteverdi Music School, is looking to become a permanent súmmer music school for serious musicians of high school and college age. Its level is certainly not in question.