Aberfoyle Baroque’s Jessica Honigberg & Carolyn Winter recently enjoyed a wonderful fusion program, “The Jasmin Toccata Project”, part of The Phillips Collection's 75th Music Anniversary.
This unusual and beautiful program fused contemporary and baroque compositions, shifting rhythms and meters, and a rather unlikely combination of instruments. The lute, harpsichord and zarb (a Persian drum), however, complemented each other very well. The performers, Keyvan Chemirani (on zarb), Thomas Dunford (on lute), and Jean Rondeau (on harpsichord) melded their respective virtuosic and improvisatory skills perfectly in delivering a diversity of pieces, including compositions by Keyvan Chemirani, Chaconnes by Robert de Visée and Bernardo Storace, and the Toccata 6 by Girolamo Kapsberger. It was really the zarb that reigned supreme in this performance, with Chemirani's compositions and mastery highlighting its diverse and insistent sounds. Rondeau had rather too few opportunities in this program to really showcase his enormous talents on the harpsichord; his note-perfect, rapid-fire, apparently effortless cadenza in the Storace chaconne left the audience thirsting for much more. This performance was one not to be missed, and it very rightly garnered a wonderful review from The Washington Post’s Anne Midgette.