Dynamic Duo Delivers Impassioned Franck and Sizzling Piazzolla

January 17, 2012

United StatesUnited States Vaughan Williams, Franck, Piazzolla: Michael DeBruyn (cello), Francesca Tortorello (piano), Cable Recital Hall, Canton, Ohio (USA), 14.1.2012 (TW)

Ralph Vaughan Williams: Six Studies in English Folksong (1926)
Cesar Franck: Sonata in A Major (1886)
Astor Piazzolla: Le Grande Tango (1982)

In many ways, the first performance of the 2012 Chesapeake Energy Casual Series of chamber music concerts by members of the Canton Symphony Orchestra (CSO) was an unfolded love story. CSO principal cellist Michael DeBruyn joined with pianist Francesca Tortorello to deliver a program that began with staid tenderness and steadily progressed into an unfettered outpouring of passion.

From the opening strains of Ralph Vaughan William’s lovely Six Studies in English Folksong, the duo articulated a warm, balanced aural blend that effectively imbued the entire work with a sense of lilting affection. They certainly took to heart the composer’s stated desire that these very brief, sweetly melodic songs be “…treated with love.”

The second work on the program was Cesar Franck’s iconic and challenging Sonata in A Major. In contrast to the gentle simplicity of the evening’s first selection, this work, composed in 1886 as a wedding gift to violinist Eugene Ysaye, is a gripping “story” of amorous beguilement and sensuality. Fittingly, the duo rose to the occasion with impressive sonority and rapturous grace.

This performance was a genuine partnership in crisp virtuosity, and both DeBruyn and Tortorello played with a consistent ardor that was downright infectious. Their seamless flow of give-and-take energy was particularly intense during the fiery second movement as they negotiated the intricate, cyclic thematic embellishments. In the third movement, their skillful intertwining of whimsy and drama took on an increasingly fluid and improvisatory feel. By the time they had completed the thunderous coda in the fourth movement – a powerfully ecstatic and triumphant ending – the clearly appreciative audience responded with mirthful applause.

Such emotional momentum was brought to even more soaring heights with the evening’s final work, Astor Piazzolla’s Le Grande Tango. Before taking his seat, DeBruyn made a point of removing his tie and placing it on the piano as Tortorello looked on approvingly. Or should I say…seductively? For this performance was quite simply among the most authoritative demonstrations of lusty technique melded with unleashed musical libido I’ve ever witnessed: enthralling, syncopated sizzle. The duo became the dance.

The sheer intensity and unity of purpose so eloquently presented in this work (and for that matter the entire program) could easily make one think that these gifted artists were literally married to the material. It is a sense made all the more reasonable when considering that DeBruyn and Tortorello are husband and wife in real life. Call it a marriage made in music.

Tom Wachunas

Print Friendly


Comments are closed.

Recent Reviews

Season Previews

  • NEW! The Salzburg Festival 2016 Unveiled __________________________________
  • NEW! 2016 UK Tour Dates for Carlos Acosta’s A Classical Farewell __________________________________
  • NEW! St John’s Smith Square Unveils its 30th Christmas Festival __________________________________
  • NEW! Preview Lucerne Festival 2016 __________________________________
  • NEW! The 2015-16 Season of Dance and Music at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills __________________________________
  • NEW! Woody Allen Staging of Gianni Schicchi to Open LA Opera’s 2015/16 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Cincinnati 2015-2016 Season: Things to Come __________________________________
  • NEW! Such Stuff as Dreams are Made of – Ex Cathedra Announce 2015-16 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Winslow Hall Prepares for La Traviata __________________________________
  • NEW! St John’s Smith Square Announces its 2015/16 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Visiting Orchestras Tour Switzerland 2015/16 __________________________________
  • Receive Daily Review Summary


    bertrand again-2

    News and Featured Articles

  • NEW! Saffron Opera Group to Perform Wagner’s Ring Starting in January 2016 __________________________________
  • NEW! NCEM Hosts First Major Emerging European Ensembles Residency in the UK __________________________________
  • NEW! Bampton Classical Opera Announces Young Singers’ Competition Winner __________________________________
  • NEW! The Musical Loders of Bath – Study Day __________________________________
  • NEW! Bruce Dickey on the Cornetto and the Vespers __________________________________
  • NEW! NCEM Young Composers Award 2016 __________________________________
  • NEW! Sir David Willcocks, CBE, MC. 30 December 1919 – 17 September 2015 __________________________________
  • NEW! New Energy in Early Music in the Pacific Northwest: An Interview with Matthew White __________________________________
  • NEW! The Glyndebourne Rape of Lucretia Seen Streaming __________________________________
  • Search Seen Heard and Music Web International

    Reviews by Reviewer