Bassoonist Magnanini bids a musical farewell with friends at Festival Miami

By Lawrence Budmen

Luciano Magnanini

Luciano Magnanini has been one of South Florida’s leading orchestral players and educators for four decades. Former principal bassoon of the Florida Philharmonic as well as orchestras in Europe and Latin America, Magnanini plans to retire from his professorship at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music at the end of the current school term. Appropriately Festival Miami threw a musical party Sunday afternoon and many of Magnanini’s fellow faculty members and students were in the audience at Gusman Concert Hall.

In opening remarks, Dean Shelly Berg said Magnanini was irreplaceable. Joined by members of the Frost Chamber Players, Magnanini demonstrated that his technical chops and musicianship remain undiminished. In Saint-Saens’ Bassoon Sonata, his only solo opportunity on the program, Magnanini’s rapid articulation and long breathed lyric lines resounded with potent fervor, adeptly supported by pianist Paul Posnak.  Despite a sly scherzo, the score is a mere curio, never reaching the level of Saint-Saens’ piano and string works.

Beethoven’s Quintet for piano and winds represents the flip side of the master from Bonn —Beethoven as entertainer. A font of gracious melodies, the score received a winning traversal. Magnanini spun the extended solo in the  Andante cantabile with beguiling tones. Pianist Tian Ying’s rhythmically exact, vivacious playing also found a more poetic side in the operatic slow movement. Richard Todd’s tonally voluminous horn and Margaret Donaghue’s dark, mellow clarinet were standouts in a felicitous ensemble performance.

Poulenc’s Sextet is a zany romp, astutely mixing the whimsical and languorous. With J.B. Floyd providing vital, jazzy rhythms at the keyboard, Trudy Kane’s high, pure flute and Robert Weiner’s plangent oboe solos shared honors with Donaghue, Todd and Magnanini. Kane, Magnanini and Ying teamed up for a delightful arrangement of Spring from Astor Piazzolla’s Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, a score that exists in innumerable versions.

The Trio for oboe, bassoon and piano by Canadian bassoonist-composer Bill Douglas was a real charmer. In the opening Bebop cantabile, Berg’s stride piano riffs really swung and Magnanini was equally uninhibited in swirling solo passages. Weiner’s sweet tone and singing line alighted the sensuous Lament, the score’s center piece.

Sights and Sounds, a septet for piano and winds written for the occasion by Frost faculty member Stephen Guerra, Jr, was a merry party piece, filled with joy and high spirits. This score was hot jazz without pretension about combining classical and populist genres. A Gallic martial step infused The City Rises (second movement) and the finale was a mini jam session.

With Dale Underwood’s terrific saxophone riffs and Berg ripping across the keys, the players really sizzled, not the least Magnanini in a long solo that tested the full range of his instrument.

After a final solo bow before a standing, cheering house, Magnanini waved a symbolic goodbye. The concert was a wonderful tribute to an artist who has made an important contribution to South Florida artistic community.

Posted in Performances

One Response to “Bassoonist Magnanini bids a musical farewell with friends at Festival Miami”

  1. Posted Oct 17, 2012 at 10:41 pm by Hector

    Felicidades Maestro!!!

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Tue Oct 16, 2012
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