Music Review

Music of Love and Loss: More than a recital

Valerie Cook

When I hear “recital” I tend to envision an amateur desperately hoping to perform without a misstep, often without success; that could just be how my recitals as a kid went. However, the faculty recital in the Ramsey Center deserves more than the label of “recital”. This performance in the faculty concert series was anything but amateur. The musicians weaved together an exciting performance of complex piano pieces performed by former UGA faculty member Richard Zimdars, paired with captivating vocals by tenor Lawrence Bakst.

The evening may have only consisted of two musicians, but the music created resonated with rich tones throughout the concert hall. In contrast to Zimdars’ slight frame and adorable bowtie, he played the piano with such compelling intensity that I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. He has taught master piano classes all over the world and spent the last 40 years as a professor at UGA. It came as no surprise that tenor Bakst has performed in opera houses in Europe for 25 years—his stage presence was strong as he looked straight ahead into the audience and confidently delivered strong opera vocals in both Italian and German.

The performance was themed “Music of Love and Loss”, and by reading the English translation of the lyrics it was clear what the pieces were about. However, the program translations weren’t needed to see and hear the emotion spilling from both the pianist and opera singer in their gripping delivery.

There were some pieces of exclusively piano, and I was not thrilled to notice on the program that one of the piano compositions was a fifteen-minute ballad. However, Zimdars performed the piece so artfully and enchanting that by the end of the piece I was in such a state of relaxation, I hadn’t realized that fifteen minutes had passed.

The unduly named “recital” was a free concert in the UGA performing arts center and was far superior to anything that I could have expected. At times I felt as if I were in an Opera house in 17th century Europe. I was not expecting to feel transported to a different time and place, but that is what music has the power to do if performed right. I was pleasantly surprised with the wonderful, bold sounds as Bakst and Zimdars filled the room with music of love and loss.

 

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