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Concert Review

Trudy Kane’s gracious musicianship in the spotlight in Frost farewell recital

Mon Sep 17, 2018 at 12:23 pm

By Lawrence Budmen

Trudy Kane performed a farewell recital at the Frost School of Music Sunday at Gusman Hall.

Trudy Kane performed a farewell recital at the Frost School of Music Sunday at Gusman Hall.

After more than three decades as principal flute of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, Trudy Kane joined the faculty of the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music in 2009. In the past near-decade, she has been an invaluable member of the Frost roster of resident musicians.

Kane’s solo performances have been distinguished, none more so than her world premiere of Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s Concerto Elegia in 2015 with Thomas Sleeper and the Frost Symphony Orchestra. Her arrangements of orchestral works for flute ensemble have proven delightful and she has been a strong asset to Miami’s freelance orchestral pool.

Kane is retiring at the end of the current school year. On Sunday afternoon she presented a farewell recital at Gusman Concert Hall on the Coral Gables campus. True to form, Kane offered two hours of splendid musicianship and diverse repertoire, joined by three faculty members taking turns at the keyboard.

Philippe Gaubert’s charming Sonata No. 3 opened the program. Kane launched the opening Allegretto with full and vibrant tone that flowed through the hall with the airy excitement of the first rustle of spring. She sustained long phrases seamlessly as if in one breath. The main theme of the Intermède pastoral is sensuous, almost impressionistic and Kane’s ability to make her instrument sing in almost vocal terms was fully displayed. Here she was elegantly partnered by Frost dean Shelly Berg who sensitively conveyed Gaubert’s relaxed keyboard lines. In the finale, Kane deftly negotiated the wide, quick leaps up to the flute’s top register.

Requiem Milonga by Valerie Coleman, UM Frost’s newest faculty member, is an atmospheric, haunting vignette that speaks with an aura of sadness. A flutist and founder of the Imani Winds, Coleman captures the instrument’s full spectrum of range and colors. She was masterfully accompanied by Santiago Rodriguez who brought a fine affinity for Coleman’s rhapsodic idiom.

Kane’s transcription of Lensky’s aria from Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin was based on Leopold Auer’s violin version. Tchaikovsky’s melancholy melody works wonderfully on the flute and the extra flourishes Kane appended in the central section added extra spice.

Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise is almost a natural for solo flute. Kane’s beautiful shimmer of tone was exquisitely spun and Rodriguez, an outstanding Rachmaninoff interpreter, was in his element as well. The pianist was also impressive in a flute version of the Andante from Rachmaninoff’s Cello Sonata. Yet while the brooding, very Russian melodies work nicely on the wind instrument, something essential is lost without the depth of the cello’s low sonority.

Kane devoted the second half of the concert to the music of Gabriel Fauré. In Morceau de Concours, she brought out the score’s songful elements while adroitly handling the technical hurdles Fauré conceived for flute students at the Paris Conservatoire.

Kane’s transcription of Fauré’s Violin Sonata in A Major was nothing short of a revelation. The initial Allegro molto found the sonorities and hues of Fauré’s writing superbly matched to the instrument’s palette. Kane reinvented the work as a great flute vehicle, commanding technique while maintaining a mood of agitated lyricism. She managed to play even in the flute’s highest reaches without the sound becoming piercing.

The quietude of the Andante was traversed in an unhurried manner. Kane sparkled in the rapid thematic fragments of the Allegro vivo, tempered by a touch of whimsy. In the opening flights of the Allegro quasi presto finale, her stylistic acuity and sense of musical enchantment took full wing. Oleksii Ivanchenko capably partnered Kane in the Fauré works.

A standing, cheering audience repeatedly recalled Kane to the stage and ten of her students presented her with flowers. As an encore Kane and Ivanchenko offered a transcription of Fauré’s song Apres un reve (After a dream), sensitively rendered. Kane’s pedagogical skills, finely honed performances and warm, gracious stage presence will be greatly missed.

Photo: Ed Freedman

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