The Edge of Sadness

Mitsuru Kubo, viola, in a UCSB Bachelor of Music Senior Recital, with Egle Januleviciute and Sarah Broomell, pianos; and Alice Crone, clarinet. At Karl Geiringer Hall, Thursday, May 25.

Cara Iverson, soprano, in a Master of Music Recital, with Dr. John Ballerino, piano; and Helen Park, clarinet. At Karl Geiringer Hall, Friday, May 26.

Reviewed by Gerald Carpenter

One of the pleasures of these degree recitals is that the young candidates tend to dress up for the occasion. Both Kubo and Iverson chose the formality of a floor-length skirt or gown, in somber colors, which underscored the seriousness of the event. These are not amateurs, but students on the cusp of becoming professionals.

Mitsuru Kubo gets a big, dramatic sound from her viola, and shapes that sound with excellent technique and a fine musical sense. Her program consisted of Mendelssohn’s Sonata in C Minor (with Egle Januleviciute, piano); Hindemith’s Solo Sonata Opus 25, No. 1; William Walton’s Viola Concerto (with Sarah Broomell, piano); and Mozart’s “Kegelstatt” Trio, K. 498 (with Sarah Broomell, piano; and Alice Crone, clarinet).

Kubo gave bravura performances of the middle works, and blended seamlessly with her collaborators in the Mozart. In the Mendelssohn, which was written when he was 15 and not published until 1966, the viola has many charming tunes, but the piano part is the main attraction, especially when performed by Januleviciute.

Soprano Cara Iverson has a lovely voice, an uncanny sense of pitch, and a considerable store of dramatic insight. Her program was, I felt, weighted toward the first half, which consisted of Mozart’s Exultate Jubilate, K. 165 — with the famous “Alleluia” — and Schubert’s exquisite song, almost a mini cantata, “Der Hirt auf dem Felsen,” with Helen Park adding delightful accents on her clarinet. In the second half, I took the most pleasure from the Bellini songs, though the Chausson pieces were rather dreamy, and the Cinco Canciones Negras of Xavier Montsalvatge certainly made for a spectacular close to the recital. We must keep our eyes peeled for Iverson’s name on future programs.

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