Today’s Noontime Concerts™ event at Old St. Mary’s Cathedral marked the 23rd anniversary of the organization and the programs it provides to the community. It was celebrated with a recital by two familiar and always welcome performers, cellist Samsun van Loon and his accompanist Michael Tan. The major work on the program was Johannes Brahms’ first cello sonata, Opus 38 in E minor. This is one of the first pieces he composed after settling in Vienna, and he worked on it between 1862 and 1865. The sonata is richly expressive in its Romantic rhetoric, while its structures are highly retrospective, including a “quasi menuetto” for the second movement and a fugue in the third. In other words the sonata may be approached as a dialectical synthesis of both Classicism and Romanticism; and van Loon’s reading sought out (and found) that “sweet spot” that honored both aesthetics in equal measure.
Examiner review of our 23rd Anniversary Concert featuring cellist Samsun van Loon and pianist Michael Tan — 2011 December 13