Hats Off to Fred Lifsitz and Musician Colleagues
By Bonnie Gratch Lindauer
The Sunday May 6th benefit concert organized by Fred Lifsitz and performed with his colleagues was a smashing success. Fred introduced and gave background information about each of the pieces. The beginning selections performed with pianist Danielle DiDonato from “The Baal Shem Suite: Vidui and Nigun” by Ernest Bloch were haunting and evocative. The next piece, “Duo For two violins in E minor” by Jean Marie Leclair (a contemporary of J.S. Bach) was performed with 14-year old violinist Myer Johnson-Potter. It constrasted beautifully with its lively rhythms and melodies, fashioning a conversation between the two violins. Fred then performed the Bach “Chiaconna,” the final movement from the Partita in D minor. This technically demanding work seemed to mesmerize the audience with its dramatic opening and intricate contrapunctual voices. Fred explained that this piece is reputed to be written in memory of Bach’s first wife, after he returned from a trip to discover that she had died.
Saxophonist and composer Brian Henderson then performed with Fred seven short selections by Bela Bartok based on Hungarian folk melodies. The dynamics between violin and saxophone were playfully pleasing. Fred ended the concert performing with pianist Danielle DiDonato the 19th century crowd-pleaser “Souvenir d’Amérique, Variations Burlesques sur Yankee Doodle.” It was amazing to hear the range of variations on the well-known tune “Yankee Doodle.”
The attendees were also treated to a guest performance by new member Philip Bieber, who played classical guitar at the pre-concert wine & cheese/dessert reception with a silent auction. Thank you Philip for sharing your talents.
This fundraiser was successful in all respects. Enormous gratitude goes to Fred and his colleagues, and the folks who organized and helped at the pre-concert reception and silent auction: Bonnie Lindauer, Sharon Bleviss, Flori Green and Elizabeth Halperin. Thanks also to those who brought goodies for the reception: Maureen Rylance, Linda Wertheim, Susan Tauber and Chaya Roberts, Flori and Bonnie.