Two movements from Antosca’s five-part “Elements for Cello and Electronics” followed, and proved to be far more substantial. The work explores a vast new range of extended techniques Antosca developed for the cello, but it’s not just a catalogue of unusual sounds; in Werner’s hands the work came off as an eloquent, engaging and very human soliloquy with a sense of quiet drama.
Violinist Lina Bahn took the stage with Werner and Johnson to close out the afternoon with Dan Visconti’s piano trio “Lonesome Roads.” The players could barely contain their affection for the work, a bluesy, freewheeling suite that evokes the spirit — and mimics the sounds — of a car trip across the United States. Propulsive, cinematic, charging into the horizon with the top down and the wind howling by, it’s a work so full of life that all you want to do is climb in for the ride.
The afternoon clicked into gear when violinist Lina Bahn joined Hudicek and cellist Tobias Werner for Stacy Garrop’s “Silver Dagger” — a gorgeous and eloquent reworking of the old Appalachian folk song. Full of dark passions and slow-burning sensuality, it’s an irresistible work, and Bahn led the trio in a quietly ferocious, utterly convincing account.
The same players closed the afternoon with perhaps the most exuberant performance of the concert: Paul Schoenfield’s eclectic, uninhibited and completely delightful “Café Music.”
The Verge Ensemble - cellist Tobias Werner and pianist Audrey Andrist - delighted the crowd with a performance of Astor Piazzolla's Le Grand Tango and Rachmaninoff sonata, after which Ginsburg came up for a talk with Tobias.
You knew something interesting was happening at the Corcoran Gallery of Art when clarinetist David Jones swept the music off his stand, pulled a wrinkled sheet of paper out of his pocket and began to furiously wail on his instrument. Violinist Lina Bahn, meanwhile, was reaching over Tobias Werner’s shoulder to play his cello with her bow, while Jenny Lin strummed the strings of her piano with a pearl necklace. Just a normal afternoon, in other words, in the life of the Verge Ensemble, which closed out its 2010-2011 season on Sunday with one of its typically imaginative, playful and up-to-the-minute concerts of new music.
A technical glitch made it impossible to play the computer track to Kaija Saariaho’s stunning 1988 work “Petals,” but that turned out to be blessing; Tobias Werner played the piece in its original form for solo cello, revealing subtle colors and extraordinary details often lost in the more widely heard version.
Opening with disturbingly vespid trills, Werner’s demanding reading of Kaija Saariaho’s “Petals” evolved into a combination of antiphonal beauty and something of mad scene, a one-way conversation between cello and its digital alter ego.
Bach’s suites are performed on this recording with brilliant sensitivity by Tobias Werner, Cellist-in-Residence at the Garth Newel Music Center in Virginia, with whom he performs more that 80 concerts a year in the US, New Zealand, France, Spain, Germany, Ireland, and Italy. Previously, as a founding member of the Florestan Piano Trio, he concertized at festivals and concert series throughout Europe. His solo performances include concerts with orchestras in the US, France, Germany and Romania. Mr. Werner can be heard on several CD recordings, including this most recent, brilliant interpretation of Cello Suites by J. S. Bach.