Tuesday, June 21
12:30 P.M. - RECITAL: Luis Araya with Rebecca Wilt, piano
Grand Hotel Grand Ballroom
Luis Araya is the 2004 Ellsworth/Smith International Solo Trumpet Competition Winner
Neville Young, reporter
Luis Araya won the Ellsworth-Smith Competition in 2004: listening to this superb recital it was easy to see why.
Arayas nicely-balanced programme combined two Baroque concerti with two contemporary works, giving the audience a great opportunity to appreciate the breadth of his playing styles. He began with the Albinoni Concerto in B-flat on piccolo, giving us a relaxed approach and a focused and intense sound that was just right for this repertoire. In the slow movement I was very much struck by his singing, dark and restrained approach which added an extra layer of beauty and mystery to this music. The outer movements of course had their share of fireworks, with some exciting contrasts and very dynamic passagework you might know for a fact that its hard and high but Arayas magic makes it just music, effortless and gorgeous.
In Catalonia by Richard Peaslee we heard another side to Arayas playing as he treated us to a technical tour de force in this modern work. We had intense passages of trills and triple tonguing contrasted with broad sweeping melodies and exciting declamatory statements exploring both ends of the range. The slow movement was a major treat for flugelhorn fans as Araya swapped instruments with alarming regularity, including some wonderful, precise playing in the flugels high register, a place where some of us just dont go. The third movement gave us yet more contrast and a quick, cup-muted visit back to the flugels material before a return to the spiky excitement of Peaslees faster writing. Accompanist Rebecca Wilt was outstanding in this piece, whose piano part also requires a virtuosic approach.
Arayas performance of the Neruda Concerto in E-flat echoed the sensitivity of his approach to the Albinoni: again this was warm, lyrical, easy playing which combined beauty of tone with a marvelous connectedness of phrase.
The final piece on the programme was Adios Nonino by Piazzola, in an arrangement by Jorge L. Alvarado. Here the drama and romance of the music was ably represented by the warmth, character, and precision of the trumpet playing. Araya really is a great and charming communicator, both through his instrument and face-to-face in his talking to the audience. His encore continued the Piazzolas atmosphere with a fine arrangement, the soloists own, of Ernesto Lecuonas Malaguena. We traveled from a calm, almost understated beginning to a magnificent, triumphant ending. In his introduction to this recital, Arthur Vanderhoeft had talked about the pleasure of seeing extraordinary new talent emerging and knowing what an impact it was going to have: with these last few notes Araya finished a fine recital which left none of us in any doubt about the truth of Vandehoefts forecast.