Wednesday, May 17, 2017

National Chamber Ensemble: Music of Our Time Review

NCE Artistic Director & Violinist Leonid Sushansky

A Fond Farewell

After a decade of entertaining audiences, the National Chamber Ensemble bade farewell to the Rosslyn Spectrum Theatre with a splendid concert and dance, honoring the Music of Our Time. Next season, it's on to the Gunston Arts Center and the Unitarian Universalist Church; but Saturday's finale was a stirring send-off, featuring violinist Leonid Sushansky, clarinetist Julian Milkis and pianist Carlos César Rodríguez. Sushansky opened the show with some cute Mother's Day-themed jokes & stories, followed by a video montage of NCE members and their moms, to "Over the Rainbow," one of several movie scores performed Saturday night.

202 Words or Less

An ode to "Ladies in Lavender" was an obscure follow-up; but Milkis shined, while paying homage to "one of the living gods that changed his career." Unfortunately, his request for complete silence during an 8-miniature recital was distracting and off-putting. What a shame, given Milkis' stellar play. After intermission, Sushansky dazzled with a stirring two-piece set from "Schindler's List"... hands-down, the best of the night; before closing the night with a lengthy (and lesser known) quartet of songs from "Fiddler on the Roof." Perhaps another round of sultry tango dancing from Bowen McCauley Dance instead? Regardless, you couldn't ask for a better, fonder adieu.

Grade: B