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Sept. 16: Scenes from the Arts-burgh

| Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2008

Offerings from Pittsburgh's cultural arts and entertainment events:

Musique on the Bluff

Three standing ovations marked the successful debut of Musique on the Bluff Sunday night at Duquesne University. The new two-year concert series is directed by pianist David Allen Wehr, who also presented two very successful series devoted to the piano sonatas of Ludwig van Beethoven and chamber music of Johannes Brahms.

Cesar Frank's Violin Sonata set the tone for the evening. A triumphant blend of passion and masterly construction, it was forcefully presented by Wehr and violinist Charles Stegeman. However, the violinist's inflections at the sublime start of the last movement were excessive and interrupted the smoothly harmonious give-and-take between instruments.

It was smart to include the piano version of Maurice Ravel's "Le Tombeau de Couperin," because it includes two rarely heard movements. Then, too, pianist Cynthia Raim delighted in Ravel's imaginative treatment of baroque forms.

Finally, the verbal play of Ogden Nash's narration for "The Carnival of the Animals" as delivered by the Rev. Sean P. Kealy highlighted the wittiness of Camille Saint-Saens' score. Jeffrey Turner conducted a tasty performance of the original version for chamber ensemble. Cellist Anne Martindale Williams and bassist Micah Howard were among the outstanding soloists.

Duquesne University looks to have another hit on its hands with Musique on the Bluff.

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