The Music Academy of the West’s charming Hahn Hall held an intimate concert last Wednesday when renowned cellist Sol Gabetta made her debut with pianist Alessio Bax, performing arrangements written specifically for their two powerful instruments.
Opening with Robert Schumann’s emotionally charged Fantasiestücke, Gabetta disappeared into a world of her own, so mesmerized by the material. During the duet of Johannes Brahms’s haunting Sonata for Cello and Piano No. 1 in E Minor, the audience members leaned forward and held their breath as the notes unfolded; it was a perfect display of the cello’s inherent ability to harness passion. Bax emitted tranquility as his hands gently moved over the piano, truly a yin to Gabetta’s yang, as she became a slave to the senses.
Two selections from Sergei Prokofiev closed the concert, the first an adagio from Cinderella, followed by the darkly romantic Sonata for Cello and Piano in C Major. Bax is a true storyteller, using the piano as his voice, and Gabetta reminds us through these selections why the cello was created — as an instrument of raw emotion to reflect our own capacity for feeling. This concert was a wonderful showcase of two talented artists.