Festival Vancouver
Alcon Schubert Plus Series
Naida Cole

Dates: 5 August 2003 at 11.00
: First Baptist Church

Reviewer: Elizabeth Paterson



Featured performers: Naida Cole, Julia Bonnett, Chad Louwerse, Rena Sharon


On Tuesday morning at the Alcon Schubert Plus Series, Naida Cole presented a programme to make you think. She opened with Schubert's Three piano pieces, D.946 from his earlier years. These pieces have a wonderful refreshing and open, youthful feel which was well expressed by Cole's playing. Birds and insects seemed to flutter in the first piece, and in the second, a barcarolle, she played with a marvellous shimmering quality as of light on water. She drew these pictures with delicacy and charm, yet always infused her playing with Schubertian emotion.

The second part of the programme was a contrast, three of the cool, remote Satie Gymnopedies, like a sorbet, in which Cole achieved miracles in shades of piano were followed by a piece from Messiaen's Vingt Regards sur l'Enfant-Jesus, no. 13, Noel - direct, splashy, utterly emotional. Here Miss Cole unleashed her virtuoso skills, thrilling the audience with drama.

And why did she choose these pieces? I canvassed several audience members. All were puzzled, although 






they had enjoyed each piece as itself. But all also felt they would think of the Schubert pieces in other terms than before.  Each Schubert Plus concert opens with the Schubert Circle, a set of lieder, sung by various artists, with various accompaniments.  On Tuesday, a last minute change of performer, and voice - baritone Chad Louwerse replaced a departed tenor - occasioned a rearrangement of the programme. Not one whit disturbed soprano Julia Bonnet and Louwerse sang delightfully to Rena Sharon's sympathetic accompaniment.Standchen (Serenade), D957 was moved to the end of their program. Louwerse asked Julia Bonnett by gesture to remain on stage. He sang directly to her, bringing out all the seduction and persuasion of the music. Bonnett can currently be seen on the Vancouver stage in The King and I, and she was persuaded and seduced charmingly, singing the final line in joyful duet - a nice piece of dramatic flair to end the set.

his programme will be broadcast by the CBC on Take Five , September 16, on In Performance and Les Lieux qui chantent (check the CBC/Radio Canada listings for dates and times)

2003, Elizabeth Paterson