Concert: Mark Gould "Café 1930"
Thursday, May 25, 2:00 p.m.
Michael Caldwell, Reporter
Mark Gould is known by ITG members for his impressive tenure as first trumpet with the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, and his distinguished position on the faculty of the Juilliard School of Music. At the beginning of the concert, he reflected upon the fact that he was one of the players that developed out of the New York tradition of focusing on brass quintet playing a style that is based on lyrical interpretation. During one of his many visits to countries around the world performing concerts and conducting master classes, he gained an appreciation for Iberian music and customs. A few years ago, he developed the concept for his recording of Café 1930. The music presented at the concert was drawn from this CD, along with the addition of a full rhythm section consisting of piano, guitar, bass, and drums.
The program was a unique blend of Spanish and Latin American qualities, and produced a dreamlike atmosphere throughout. The audience was treated to a masterful display of seamless technique, a glowing sound filled with vibrancy, and near-perfect intonation. More importantly, his approach to these often-simple melodies was bathed in the subtleties of his well-healed rhythm section. This is not a reflection that Gould was playing humble music that was simply "dressed up" it is important to note that the delivery of a simple melody is one of the most difficult aspects of playing any instrument. Gould introduced a touch of humor when he "reinvented" Bizet's Habanera from Carmen by employing a plunger mute to give the well-known melody a very alluring and rebellious flavor. The haunting quality that he achieved using many timbres throughout the concert was very impressive, and his improvisation skills were also very distinctive and personal. He incorporated the music of Astrud Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobin, Manuel de Falla, Ary dos Santos, and Schubert into this concert that ended with one of the standing ovations reserved for very special performances transcending all tastes and backgrounds. This concert was one of the most unique and sensitive presentations by a trumpet player this writer has witnessed in many years. (Michael Caldwell, Editor, ITG Journal)