Favorite songs, Bartok and Beethoven, and new Previn

Arts / Article

Soprano Sydnee Waggoner.

Things are about to get very busy here for classical fans, and so here’s a short look at what’s coming in the next few days:

What if Works recital: If you’re still hoping to hear just a bit more holiday music before Epiphany, there’s a free concert tonight at the First Presbyterian Church of Miami featuring soprano Sydnee Waggoner and tenor Hector Manuel Mir in a recital presented by What If Works, a group that aims to offer post-graduate students in theater, film and music a bridge to professional performing careers.

Waggoner (who was Miss Alaska in the 2009 Miss America pageant) and Mir will sing Adolphe Adam’s O Holy Night on a program with popular Spanish-language songs including Agustin Lara’s Granada and Manuel Ponce’s Estrellita, and American music such as Simple Song from Leonard Bernstein’s Mass, and two ravishing Harold Arlen songs, A Sleepin’ Bee and I Never Has Seen Snow.

The second half of the recital, accompanied by the What If Works String Quartet, features operatic music: Donizetti’s Una furtiva lagrima and Puccini’s Chi il bel sogno, and the three love arias from Act I of La Boheme: Che gelida manina, Mi chiamano Mimi and O soave fanciulla.

The concert starts at 7:30 p.m. at the church, which sits at 609 Brickell Ave. Call 305-271-1073 for more information.

Robert Spano.

Robert Spano.

New World Symphony: Atlanta Symphony director Robert Spano is in town tonight with the fine Russian-born pianist Yefim Bronfman for two concerts featuring the Second Piano Concerto of Bartok and the Seventh Symphony of Beethoven; tonight’s concert has just those two works, while Saturday’s repeat adds the Francesca da Rimini tone poem of Tchaikovsky.

Spano, who also runs the Aspen Festival, is surely one of the most important American conductors working today, in no small part because during his tenure in Atlanta he has made a point of fostering contemporary composers such as Jennifer Higdon and Christopher Theofanidis. In his years at the Brooklyn Philharmonic, he and writer Joseph Horowitz (Wagner Nights, Classical Music in America), who was the orchestra’s executive director, were celebrated for their adventurous programming choices.

Bronfman, who is a frequently seen face in South Florida’s winter season, is a concerto specialist who is particularly admired for his Brahms and Rachmaninov interpretations. The Bartok Second is not as well-known as the Third, but it is a marvelous work, and not incidentally demonstrates what a fine pianist Bartok was himself.

Bronfman will follow up these two performances with a solo recital at 2 p.m. Sunday at the New World Center, where the other two concerts will be (tonight’s is a Wallcast, too). On Sunday, he’ll be joined by clarinetist Jason Shafer and violinist Vivek Jayaraman for Bartok’s Contrasts on a program that also includes the Third Sonata of Brahms (in F minor, Op. 5) and the Eighth Sonata (in B-flat, Op. 84) of Prokofiev.

Tonight’s concert starts at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday’s at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $30; call 305-673-3331 or visit www.nws.edu.

Sharon Robinson, Jaime Laredo and Joseph Kalichstein.

Sharon Robinson, Jaime Laredo and Joseph Kalichstein.

Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio: This trio is one of the best-known, best-loved chamber music ensembles working today, and it’s rare that a South Florida winter passes without an appearance by these musicians – pianist Joseph Kalichstein, violinist Jaime Laredo and cellist Sharon Robinson.

In the last couple seasons, the KLR Trio has presented music by Miami’s own Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, and next week they present an area premiere of another work composed just for them: The Piano Trio No. 2 of the pianist and conductor Andre Previn. It’s said to be a piece that demonstrates the multiple idioms for which Previn has been well-known for decades, as a jazz pianist, film composer and opera conductor. His earlier trio, a charming piece for piano, oboe and bassoon, turns up a lot on chamber music concerts these days.

In addition to the Previn, KLR has programmed two major canonical works, the Piano Trio No. 2 (in G, Op. 1, No. 2) of Beethoven, from his groundbreaking early set of three trios, and the beautiful Piano Trio (in A minor, Op. 50) of Tchaikovsky, an audience favorite and an excellent example of this composer’s melodic power and highly emotional Romanticism.

I’ve heard this group several times over the years, and what is most remarkable about them is that even in well-worn works of the repertoire they always bring something fresh to the table, and their musicianship always sounds engaged and in top form. They’ll be at the University of Miami’s Gusman Hall at 8 p.m. Wednesday. Tickets are $35; call 305-372-2975 or visit www.miamichambermusic.org.