Updated: Jul 30, 2019
Marina Thibeault's concert with Juliette Herlin and Madalyn Parnas Möller at the Boston Court Pasadena was reviewed by the San Francisco Classical Voice.
The small Boston Court Pasadena theater was gripped by powerful string playing on Saturday night. The concert, “A Companion Guide to Women Composers and Rome” starred an all-women string trio performing works by women composers as well as Andrew Norman’s The Companion Guide to Rome.
Violist Marina Thibeault gave a thunderous account of Anna Pidgorna’s The Child Bringer of Light for solo viola. The piece, based on Carl Jung’s archetype of the Child, afforded Thibeault the opportunity to channel the emotions of her two young children, she told the audience. Often bowing between the viola’s chinrest and bridge, as opposed to the usual zone between bridge and fingerboard, Thibeault showcased the viola’s versatility. The piece was rhapsodic, and Thibeault’s playing spanned a wide emotional range through rapidly changing lines of dissonance. Her playing was rich and warm, even at moments of cacophony.
Rebecca Clarke’s Two pieces for Viola and Cello were at times reminiscent of Shostakovich’s string quartets. Herlin and Thibeault were at their strongest in the piece’s lower registers. The piece’s warm consonances sang nicely in the intimate hall.
I saw Herlin perform this same piece several weeks ago at a concert of the Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra. The consistency of her quality is impressive, given the work’s technical challenges.
All roads in this program led to Rome in Andrew Norman’s The Companion Guide to Rome.It was an exciting end to the program, providing each member of the trio opportunities to stand out. The piece comprises nine disparate movements, each based on a different building in Rome. It has received many performances since its composition and is developing a reputation as a crowd-pleaser among the contemporary repertoire.
An air of theatricality suffused the performance when Möhler and Thibeault, at different moments, stood and left the trio to perform a solo movement on the side of the stage. Throughout the nine movements, the ensemble played with a uniform aggression that was both thrilling and controlled. The piece’s final movement filled the hall with long waves of consonant harmonies, as the players dug deep into the strings.
To read the full review, click here.
To learn more about Marina Thibeault, click here.