The Imani Winds with Terrence Wilson on Piano, appeared for their debut performance at the 92nd Street Y (92NY). In their 27th season, The Imani Winds form an ensemble that performs on a flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and French horn. The formidable quintet is essential, representing the audible heart of any ensemble and providing its unique blend of timbres and textures, depth and richness. With an accomplished pianist like Terrence Wilson, they’re even more musically unstoppable!
World Class Artists
The versatility of these world-class artists facilitated a wide variety of musical styles, from graceful, lyrical melodies to fast-paced, virtuosic passages. Tonight, the Imani Winds with Terrence Wilson on piano celebrated their roles in creating radiant, coruscating sound structures of complexity and beauty.
Bassoonist Monica Ellis introduced the first work, Paquito D’Rivera’s Fleur de Cayenne. The ensemble performed this brilliant, virtuosic take on the vibrant Venezuelan joropo with aplomb. They well portrayed the essence of the work, characterizing its lively, sweeping rhythms and rhythmically intricate passages. They elevated this mesmerizing art form to a new level of beauty and complexity, from the propulsive rhythms of “El Cacerolazo” to the plaintive beauty of “La Negra Atilia,” Imani Winds portrayed the essence of joropo while infusing it with their unique energy and vision.
The breath and invention of Lalo Schifrin’s marvelous work La Nouvelle Orleans came to the forefront. Schifrin’s cinematic voice came through with the ensemble’s fresh, intimate, virtuosic elements. The exquisite performance of this musical masterpiece celebrated the vibrancy and rich culture of New Orleans. The audience was taken on a journey through spiffing jazz idioms and metrical shifts through the bustling streets of the famous Southern city.
Pianist Terrence Wilson ascended the stage as oboist Toyin Spellman-Diaz introduced Louise Ferenc’s Sextet for Piano and Winds in C Minor, Op. 40. A 19th-century work, it splendidly portrayed echoes of both late 18th-century and Romantic voices. Listeners may have imagined Schumann’s piano works, Schubert’s Trout Quintet, and, in its minuet and trio, Mozart’s classical sparkle.
Timeless and Engaging Performance
The ensemble exemplified the interplay in the Sextet between the piano and the winds from the onset. The virtuoso piano parts served as the foundation of the sextet as the winds weaved melodies and harmonies into the textures. The ensemble commanded this captivating chamber music work with the requisite craftsmanship and passion for a rich, vibrant, timeless, and engaging performance.
After an intermission, flutist Brandon Patrick George introduced Oblivion (1982) by Astor Piazzolla. This delightful work is part of Piazzolla’s Nuevo Tango movement. Displaying the versatility of the Imani Winds, the performance was evocative and blended elements of traditional tango music with modern jazz harmonies and textures. They portrayed discrete tensions and release, expressing intense emotion followed by tranquil interludes. Fresh dissonances elicited a pathos of yearning and longing gently accentuated by the expressive performance of the musicians.
Kaleidoscope of Textures
Poulenc’s Sextet for Piano and Winds, FP100 was introduced by clarinetist Mark Dover as Terrence Wilson returned to the piano. Requiring virtuosic performing artists, this chamber music masterpiece consists of six movements blending neoclassicism and jazz elements. The musicians characterized Poulenc’s unique style as they celebrated colorful harmonies, witty melodies, and unexpected shifts in mood. The Sextet showcased the virtuosity of each instrument, with the piano acting as both accompaniment and soloist. The winds provide a kaleidoscope of textures, at times cheerful and playful, nostalgic and contemplative. The work featured a lively Scherzo, a melancholy Divertissement, and a vividly expressive Finale. Through masterful displays of musical elements, the ensemble created a complex and compelling sonic tapestry.
After Poulenc’s splendid offering, The Imani Winds, with Terrence Wilson on Piano, performed Marcelo Zarvo’s Quase Choro. This piece of contemporary classical music was composed for Changes: Sextet for Winds and Piano. Introduced by French horn player Kevin Newton, the work was a fantastic finale to an evening of extraordinary music and virtuosity. The piece began with a simple melody on the piano that was gradually joined by the other instruments. The music created a sense of urgency and drama and featured rich instrumental textures with moments of lush harmonies and delicate, sparse melodies.
Well-Crafted and Exciting
Tonight’s team of world-class musicians presented a diverse, well-crafted, and exciting music program ranging from the musical imagination of Louise Farrenc (1804-1875) to the mind of Marcelo Zarvos (b. 1969) from the current generation of composers. The well-spoken ensemble members insightfully introduced and explained the features of each selection to the audience.
This program was just one of the many splendid events at the 92nd Street Y. The 92nd Street Y hosts diverse programming with prominent figures in arts, culture, and education. Since 1874, it has fostered a community of enthusiasts, including notable figures such as Margaret Mead and Robert Frost. The Y is also a cultural ambassador with a worldwide influence through pioneering online initiatives.
Imani Winds with Terrence Wilson on Piano
Terrance Wilson, Piano
Paquito D’Rivera, Fleur de Cayenne
Piazzolla, Oblivion (arr. Jeff Scott)
Lalo Schifrin, La Nouvelle Orleans
Poulenc, Sextet for Piano and Winds
Marcelo Zarvos, “Quase Choro” from Changes: Sextet for Winds & Piano
Louise Farrenc, Sextet for Piano and Winds
Runtime: About 110 minutes with intermission.
The 92ND Street Y
Theresa L. Kaufman Concert Hall
The 92nd Street Y, New York
1395 Lexington Avenue
(between 91st & 92nd street)
New York, NY 10128
For tickets and information on the 2023-34 Tisch Music Season, visit www.92NY.org.
Readers may also enjoy our reviews of Jay Campbell, Cello and Conor Hanick, Piano, Music Sacra Presents SuRound, the American Classical Orchestra presents Healing Bach, and MasterVoices performs at Central Synagogue.