It was overwhelming to be back inside our home venue again for a live concert, after a summer of outdoor concerts – overwhelming in a wonderful way! All the key ingredients were there: superb artists; an exciting program; a great piano; the old country church’s charming atmosphere and fine acoustics; and a full house of keen enthusiasts. The “cherry on top” was the presence of Pulitzer Prize composer Lewis Spratlan, who gave a pre-concert talk about his two works being performed that afternoon, one of which was a premiere.
Dana Muller and Gary Steigerwalt had driven all the way from Tucson, Arizona to fulfill the engagement that had been cancelled twice since the start of the pandemic. During their week’s residency they not only holed up to rehearse for long stretches, but they reached out into the community to give a couple of mini-performances: Lake Forest Senior Living Community and a pop-up concert at the mall. Both were so warmly received.
Muller and Steigerwalt’s big program on Sunday afternoon was truly BIG, with five significant works: Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune; Mendelssohn’s Andante und Allegro assai vivace, Op. 92; Spratlan’s Dreamworlds and Fantasia; and Ravel’s La Valse. And their playing is BIG, considering their physiques appear rather small and delicate. But they made it look like a mere bagatelle and positively balletic. Their movements were so graceful and in sync, they were mesmerizing to watch and to hear. Fascinating and wonderful concert!