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Richard Dowling and Evan Drachman in concert

By Michael Pearl

San Miguel’s favorite pianist, Richard Dowling, and super-talented Evan Drachman on cello, return for two joint concerts on Saturday, January 18, 5pm, and Sunday, January 19, at 4pm, St. Paul’s Church, calle Cardo 6. Please note Sunday’s earlier starting time.

Pro Musica Concert Series
Richard Dowling, piano, and Evan Drachman, cello
Sat, Jan 18, 5pm
Sun, Jan 19, 4pm
St. Paul’s Church, calle Cardo 6
100/200/300 pesos

The musicians will play two entirely different concerts, with both programs designed to display their talents to the utmost, in a mixture of virtuoso pieces and classic sonatas. Composers featured on Saturday include Ravel, Fauré, Debussy and Beethoven. A beautiful blur of impressionistic images are created in Ravel’s Sonatine — all set within supremely difficult passages packed with impressive piano rolls, wild arpeggios and exciting polyrhythms that promise to enthral. In contrast, his Habanera will lighten the mood as it paints a musical kaleidoscope of colourful Spanish flavors. You will not want to miss Ravel, casting his exotic spell of playful romance.

Fauré is also featured in this program’s romantic fabric, with one of the 19th century’s most moving laments, Elégie. Its supreme expressiveness and sublime melody displays great grief interspersed with moments of merriment. It is a short piece, but the piece’s seductively sublime effect will linger long after the music is finished. Likewise, his Après un rêve — one of three songs, inspired by a romantic poem — is utterly magical. A cocoon of romantic sounds slowly swirls around the listener and the imaginary lovers as the mystical music transports them into a realm of transcendence.

Debussy follows with Estampes; the composition’s three marvellous pieces graphically create musical sound images of scenes from French, Asian and Spanish surroundings. The enchanting mix includes a garden growing under the rain, a pagoda and an evening in glorious Granada. Finally, Beethoven completes the program with his Sonata No. 3 in A major. Three highly thrilling movements propel us to the core of his endless passion as the music creates a mosaic of surprising melodies and playful banter between the two players. The work defines Beethoven as the quintessential master of the piano.

On Sunday, January 19, the program includes Mozart’s amazing Fantasie in D minor, in which unbridled joy and grave sadness mix to work their indelible magic of multiple emotions. Bruch’s Kol Nidrei is also a work that will touch the very core of your heart, as well as being an awesome adagio with its haunting Hebraic melody of atonement.

In complete contrast, we will also hear Mendelssohn’s Variations Sérieuses. This rich work creates a rollercoaster ride of wild tempo swings and bedazzling syncopated themes, climaxing in breakneck speed. Even after that, Camille Saint-Saëns may be the scene stealer of the evening, with his indescribably beautiful Le Cygne, with its heartbreaking and utterly transcendental melody that creates the image of a swan floating by.

If all this does not bring you to a state of ecstasy, Rachmaninoff’s Cello Concerto No.1 in A minor will. The composer said this was the best of its kind ever written and the two musicians have a monumental task in performing this massively complex work, of which I confidently expect Dowling and Drachman to give an inspirational performance.

Tickets for the concerts, at 100, 200 and 300 pesos donation each, are available at St. Paul’s Church, calle Cardo 6, Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm; as well as at La Tienda in La Biblioteca, Insurgentes 25; Solutions, Mesones 57; La Conexión, Aldama 3; daily until 2pm on Saturday, and at the door half an hour before the concert begins.

The quality of the music and opera Pro Musica brings to San Miguel, our unique Rhythm, Rhyme & Reason program, teaching music in underprivileged schools in the campo, and our work in the city’s orphanages, cost increasing amounts of money to provide. The best way to help us fund our activities is to become a Patron Member. Patron membership costs as little US$100 per year, is US tax deductible, and includes many benefits, such as complimentary concert tickets and Meet the Artists suppers and cocktail parties. For information on all of Pro Musica’s concerts for the 2013-2014 season and Patron Membership, please visit our website: or email


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