In a Pop Twist, Sting Joins a Trio, and the Evening Closes on a Note of Paul Simon...
"I have some experience in my life with musical trios," Sting said on Wednesday evening at the 92nd Street Y, and the audience laughed. He was referring, of course, to the Police, the rock band he led to stardom in the 1970s and ’80s.
The joke was that on Wednesday he was onstage with quite a different threesome: the eminent Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, whose repertory is generally closer to that of Mozart than to 'Message in a Bottle'. All had come together for the opening concert of the Y’s season, featuring the premiere of Stanley Silverman’s Piano Trio No. 2 ('Reveille'), with its setting of the great funeral song 'Fear No More the Heat o’ the Sun' from Shakespeare’s 'Cymbeline'.
Commissioned by Mr. Silverman’s son, Ben, the trio was dedicated to the memory of Herman Sandler, an investment banker, philanthropist and friend of the composer’s family, who died in the Sept. 11 attacks. He was also a patron of the Rainforest Fund, which Sting founded.
The eclectic work refers to a road in the Hamptons, takes inspiration from the fact that New York’s classical and Latin music FM stations are next to each other on the radio dial and closes with variations on Paul Simon’s 'You Can Call Me Al'. (The elder Mr. Silverman, it turns out, took Pierre Boulez to the 1970 party that inspired the song, at which Mr. Simon was mistakenly called Al and his wife at the time, Peggy, was called Betty.)
Mr. Silverman packs too many ideas, sections and variations into some of the work’s seven movements, but at its best moments - a quicksilver cello solo; Baroque-flavored strumming under flourishes in the violin - the trio is both intimate and exuberant.
In the 'Cymbeline' setting, Sting was, as always, a presence, but the long, high vocal lines strained his voice and dulled his diction, so important in Shakespeare. When he was able to sink into the words, as in the climactic line "No exorciser harm thee!," he had his characteristic smooth gleam.
The players brought commitment and rhythmic vitality to the piece, which they flanked with two classics: Mozart’s Trio in B flat (K. 502) and Beethoven’s 'Archduke' Trio. In all three pieces the pianist Joseph Kalichstein anchored the group with elegance and subtlety. The cellist Sharon Robinson, eloquent throughout, was particularly good at following Beethoven’s sudden modulations of mood. The violinist Jaime Laredo played with energy, but his tone tended to thin.
They were at their most sensitive near the end of Mr. Silverman’s trio, in a section where the high spirits of 'You Can Call Me Al' seemed exhausted and satisfied, sounding the way the aftermath of a party feels. It was a beautiful moment, wandering and uncertain but strangely at peace. Looking both backward and forward, it was an apt and memorable tribute in a week that has been full of them.
(c) The New York Times by Zachary Woolfe
Sting Performs in Poignant 9/11 Tribute to Old Friend...
Sting will turn up in the most unusual places if it's for a friend. And so it was on Wednesday night. The occasion was a 9-11 tribute to the late Herman Sandler, who died in the World Trade Center. Sandler, a philanthropist and patron of the arts, was also a good friend of Sting and Trudie Styler and to the Rainforest Foundation. Stanley Silverman, the respected composer and father of television exec Ben Silverman, wrote a special piece for the evening which was performed by the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio. The wonderful Christy Ferer, who lost her husband at the World Trade Center, introduced the program.
Sting first sang a lute song with the trio, then performed his classic 'Fragile' with them. It was a moving tribute to an unforgotten friend. Sandler was only 57 when he was killed. Also on hand, in the audience, was Paul Simon, with whom Stanley Silverman has played in the past. Silverman's original piece, 'Les Folies d'Al', is a riff on Simon's 'You Can Call Me Al'. Another Al-Alan Alda - was in the audience; he's a friend of the trio. But like almost everyone, Alda was rebuffed by the 92nd St. Y's uneducated security team and couldn't get back stage to see his friends.
Niche Media's Jason Binn and the Wall Street Journal's Marshall Heymann also just gave up. That 92nd St. Y had better give their staff some of those 'personal growth' classes they always brag about!
(c) Showbiz411 by Roger Friedman