Close Encounters With Music

 

PRESS REVIEWS/COMMENTS 2011-2012

Music & Vision
ENSEMBLE: Energy and Fire 'Close Encounters with Music' from Scottsdale
February 2, 2012
Heard by Maria Nockin
On 2 February 2012, the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts presented the Close Encounters with Music program Lisztomania. This chamber music series involves not only the music, but also fascinating commentary by cellist Yehuda Hanani that adds considerably to the audience's understanding of the works. For example, before pianist Jeffrey Swann played two of the Legends by Franz Liszt (1811-1886), Hanani explained that the first told of St. Francis of Assisi preaching to the birds and the second of St. Francis of Paola walking on the waves. When the latter saint was refused passage on a boat, it is said that he laid his cloak down on the water and rode on it across the Strait of Messina between Calabria and Sicily.
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Timesunion.com / Arts Talk
Close Encounters celebrates 20th anniversary season and releases disc of music by Jorge Martin
January 29, 2012
By Joseph Dalton
Close Encounters with Music, the chamber series in the Berkshires, is in the midst of its 20th anniversary season and has six more concerts between now and the early summer.
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Fanfare Archive
Yehuda Hanani Crosses Paths with Music Giants

Feature Article by Maria Nockin
Yehuda Hanani is an Israeli-American cellist who studied with Leonard Rose and Pablo Casals. Currently, he is a cello professor at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, a frequent soloist with major orchestras, and an international master-class teacher. He is also the artistic director of the chamber music series Close Encounters With Music, which presents an annovative form of programming. In late August he spoke with me by phone from his home in the cool Catskill Mountains of upstate New York.
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Fanfare Archive
Schoenfield 6 British Folk Songs. Peccadilloes. Refractions.
James Tocco (pn); Yehuda Hanani (vc); Alexander Fiterstein (cl); Paul Schoenfield (pn) Naxos

Feature Review by David DeBoor Canfield
The first notes from the CD under review made me think that I was listening to a previously unknown work of Charles Ives. Folk song, polytonality, "wrong" notes, exuberance -- all the hallmarks of Ive's distinctive style -- are there. It is delightful from the get-go. By the second ('The Basket of Eggs") of the Six British Folk Songs, I realized that Paul Schoenfield has has own distinctive style: Here the mood becomes much more introspective and meditative, even lyrical. It's a gorgeous little piece.
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Fanfare Archive
Perry Jamestown Concerto. Schuman A Song of Orpheus. Thomson Cello Concerto
Yehuda Hanani (vc); William Eddins, cond; Rte Natl SO. Naxos

Feature Review by Colin Clark
And here is another side of William Perry. The Jamestown Concerto (2006) begins with a beautiful solo cello segment that sits halfway between solo cadenza and folkish musing, described as a "cello overture" in Douglas Bruce's notes.
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Fanfare Archive
Jorge Martin Cello Sonata, "4 Noble Truths." Recuerda. 3 Nocturnes.Ropa Vieja. Hollywood Variations
Yehuda Hanani (vc); Walter Ponce (pn); William Schimmel (acc); Arti Dixson (perc)
Albany Troy 1279 (75:22)
Eroica 3300 (2 CDs" 140:02)

Feature Review by Radu A. Lelutiu
This is the first commercially available recording of Jorge Martin's output of cello music. Martin is a Cuban-born American composer who has had a prolific career in a variety of media. He writes in an appealing tonal idiom that is often engrossing and quite original. A serious-minded composer, Martin has a penchant for grappling with a difficult philosophical concepts and important existential questions, and the five works on this recording, which were composed between 1997 and 2010, are cases in point.
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Fanfare Archive
Beethoven Cello Sonatas: Nos 1-5 Variations on a Theme from Handel's Judas Maccabaeus.
Hanani (vc); Walter Ponce (piano)
Eroica 3300 (2 CDs" 140:02)

Feature Review by Jerry Dubins
Beethoven's cello sonatas have been getting a lot of playtime lately. This is the latest to vie for attentio, though it's not the most recently recorded. It was taped in two stages, the first in January 2006, the second in March that same year. The venue was the acoustically near-perfect Music Hall at the Troy Savings Bank in Troy, New York.
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The Rogovoy Report
Chamber Orchestra Kremlin, Close Encounters With Music
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center
Chamber Orchestra Kremlin
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Review by Seth Rogovoy
(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – On a day with the feel of and surrounded by scenery outside that may have reminded the musicians of a snowy winter’s day back home, the Chamber Orchestra Kremlin under the direction of Misha Rachlevsky helped usher in the 20th anniversary season of the Close Encounters with Music series at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center on Sunday with a stirring, eclectic concert that ranged from the light lyricism of Elgar to the stormy angst of Shostakovich, with detours in Boccherini, Dvorak and a smidgen of Bach.
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The New York Times
Close Encounters With Music - The Frick Collection
Rescuing Neglected Composers
By ALLAN KOZINN
October 5, 2011

The cellist Yehuda Hanani has been fascinated in recent years with the music of Eduard Franck, a German composer who studied with Mendelssohn and was highly regarded by Schumann. During the Mendelssohn bicentenary in 2009 Mr. Hanani saw an opportunity to bring Franck’s music to light by programming works of both composers in the series he directs, Close Encounters With Music. Mr. Hanani revived and expanded on that idea at the Frick Collection on Tuesday evening in a program that included not only Mendelssohn and Franck scores but also a piece by Moritz Moszkowski, the turn-of-the-last-century virtuoso pianist who, it turns out, studied composition with Franck.
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Timesunion.com / Arts Talk
Chamber Orchestra Kremlin at the Mahaiwe, October 16, 2010
Review By Priscilla McLean, Special to the Times Union
October 17, 2010

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Close Encounters with Music, under the direction of cellist Yehuda Hanani, began its 19th season in the Berkshires at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington Saturday evening with a tour de force a seventeen-member ensemble from Moscow, Russia, called the Chamber Orchestra Kremlin.
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Berkshire Living
MUSIC REVIEW: Close Encounters at the Mahaiwe
Review by Clarence Fanto
June 6, 2010

Even though Close Encounters With Music impresario Yehuda Hanani was sidelined by a high fever and too ill to perform, Saturday night's season finale, "Prague in Spring." at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center was among the most dynamic, artistically successful ventures this listener has enjoyed in the 17-year history of this off-season series.
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Miami Herald
"CLOSE ENCOUNTERS -- a celebration of the uncommon in chamber music!"

"...one of the most interesting -- and intimate -- concert series around. CLOSE ENCOUNTERS WITH MUSIC Artistic director and cellist Yehuda Hanani has a knack for creating theme programs that explore various aspects of music with the help of some notable performers."

Berkshire Eagle
"Great music played with great heart."

"Hanani is the supreme master builder of thematic programming."

"The blending of Hanani's personality and Bach's provided an exhilarating conclusion to the evening." 

"It was the sheer humanity of the performance that made it so good and it is humanity that has been lacking from classical music for so long." 

"The Mahaiwe Theatre was thronged...'Orpheus and His Lyre' emerged as an idea of substance, as well as popular appeal....The afternoon never failed to fascinate."

"There's a palpable mystique about these Close Encounters concerts."

Kansas City Star
"Spontaneity, sophistication and gritty music-making....Hanani's congenial manner and entertaining anecdotes succeeded in bringing the audience closer to the music."

Omaha World-Herald
"Audiences at the CLOSE ENCOUNTERS WITH MUSIC series have come to expect the unexpected.....This series demonstrates the important lesson that great music-making does not require superstars from the classical music world."

Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
"CLOSE ENCOUNTERS WITH MUSIC opened its season with a typically imaginative, ambitious program."

Albany Times-Union "STUNNER CLOSES SEASON!"
"Though Hanani, Prutsman and Upshaw all performed with that rare combination of mutual understanding and technical finesse which makes for the most satisfying chamber music, Hanani deserves special recognition for his astute program choices."

Arizona Republic
"The program provided stellar performances...played with passion and pathos..."

Rogovoy Report
"It was a brilliant way to kick off a season...demonstrating it to be a chamber music series on a par with anything heard at Tanglewood at the height of the season. For this, we year-rounders are blessed."

WAMC Northeast Radio
"The Close Encounters classical music series is well known for its adventurous, innovative programming. Artistic Director Yehuda Hanani struck gold by presenting a remarkable evening of rarely-heard medieval and Renaissance-era vocal music...The performers were rewarded with a highly enthusiastic ovation by the 400-plus concert-goers."

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