Concert “Music Unities Us All”. Review By Charles Coleman
Music Unites Us All. DiMenna Center, New York June 3, 2016
Lorna Case, Mezzo-Soprano
Viktoria Koreneva, Mezzo-Soprano
Kofi Hayford, Bass
Lloyd Arriola, Piano
Ben Murphy, Contrabass
Music bringing everyone together from all over the world may be something of a platitude these days. But this idea was the focus in a excellent vocal concert entitled “Music Unities Us All”, with its vast variety of different types of pieces on the program and three young and talented singers, all from different corners of the globe, performing together in America’s melting pot.
The concert started off with all three performing their origin country’s national anthem, Mezzo Soprano Viktoriya Koreneva (Moscow, Russia), Bass Kofi Hayford (Ghana, West Africa) and Mezzo Soprano Lorna Case (Texas, USA). All three performances delivered with pride and gusto.
American born Mezzo-Soprano Lorna Case, a former 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, gave her spirited performances with a head of steam. Although some of her selections might have called for a more subtle interpretation. Lieutenant Case was in her element when boldly predicting impending doom on a royal Russian family in Mussorgsky’s Khovanshchina as well as her sensuous rendering of “Bali Ha’i” from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific. Case’s presence glimmered like a phoenix.
Bass Kofi Hayford sang with a booming tone that seemed to be produced with little or no effort, sounding pure and uncontrived. His performance was perhaps most effective in Schubert’s “Grenzen Der Menchscheit” and Mozart’s concert aria “Per Questa bella mano” (with a demanding contrabass solo effectively played by Ben Murphy). Overall, what Hayford lacked in vocal intensity, he made up for in warmth and vigor.
Moscow born Mezzo Viktoriya Koreneva was the emotional heartthrob of the concert. Most notably in her sensitive performance of the composer’s aria of Richard Strauss’ “Ariadne auf Naxos” and the melancholy yet enlightening three songs by fellow Russian Sergei Rachmaninov which seemed to fit her like a glove. Koreneva’s rich soothing vocal color mixed with her vulnerable heart on sleeve performances was enough to make the audience melt.
All three performers were wonderfully supported by accompanist Lloyd Arriola who didn’t miss a beat. Even when there was a technical problem in the beginning with the immovable stand on the piano, Arriola adjusted his piano score accordingly and gave his singers the much needed foundation that they could lean on without worry.
Music cannot solve the problems of the world and their warring factions, but it is one element that everyone has in common, no matter how far we are from each other. And the enthusiastic performers from “Music Unites Us All” made the case for that.
About the Author:
Composer and Vocalist Charles Coleman has written and arranged for many orchestras and ensembles, including the Cincinnati Symphony, New Jersey Symphony and MDR Symphony Orchestra of Leipzig. He is a regular vocalist and conductor with Composers Concordance, Golden Fleece Ltd. and various other ensembles in the NYC area. http://www.classicalmatters.com/charles_c.htm