By Sergio Berrueta
Violinist Darin Qualls and pianist Chie Nagatani excited the audience of East Los Angeles College in the S2 Recital Hall last Tuesday playing classical standards.
Qualls is a soloist and chamber musician who has performed throughout Europe and Asia as well as The Netherlands Radio Philharmonic and the New World Symphony.
Nagatani is an award-winning soloist and performed throughout the United States, Canada, Japan and Europe collaboarating as a pianist with a wide variety of musicians.
In this duo performance, Qualls and Nagatani presented a suite and two sonatas for the music fans in the audience.
Starting off with Igor Stravinsky classic ‘Suite Italienne,’ Qualls delighted with the sweet and breezy sounds of his violins against the cheery chords of Nagatani’s piano in the ‘Introduzione’ section of the piece.
As the suite continues, the music grows somber in ‘Gravota con due Variazioni’ section as the tempo gives way to Qualls and the violin played at a slow pace entering into a dazzling crescendo to raise the suite back into a happier tone.
Nagatani’s piano work shone as well constructing a fluid ascend into the delightful tone represented in the beginning.
The violin and piano delivered a manic and crazed atmosphere heading into ‘Scherizo’ with Qualls’ violin along with Nagatani raising the mania on the piano with the chords rising in volume.
In the end of the suite with the somber tone back as the piano trickled away under Qualls’ violin rising above, the suite comes to a dramatic and intense end.
Qualls and Nagatani take a bow and proceed on with Gabriel Faure’s ‘Sonata No. 2 in E Minor, Op. 108’ starting with a calm and collective performance of ‘Allegro no troppo’ with Nagatani’s piano stealing the show by setting a chilling mood to the piece.
Qualls’ violin played away with a determined yet broken tone as it cries along Nagatani.
Qualls gave his all into his performance with a look of focus each note was hit with expert precision.
Heading into ‘Andante,’ the sober tone of the sonata continues on with Qualls’ violin delivering a gutwrenching blow of solace. Nagatani’s piano work shined as it weaved in and out giving a bleak backdrop.
‘Final’ ends the sonata as Qualls continued to let his violin cry out with Nagatani’s piano bringing on the soothing ‘calm after the storm’ near the end of the sonata.
The final piece of the performance is Maurice Ravel’s ‘Sonata for Violin and Piano in G Minor.’
It gives both artist time in the spotlight to shine with Qualls delivered a magnificent performance on ‘Allegretto.’
Nagatani’s piano’s small spurts of notes comes into set a dark and eerie tone giving the heartfelt longing of the violin’s tone into one of despair.
‘Blues: Moderato’ carries the same structure and pace into ‘Perpetuum mobile: Allegro’.
The dramatics built with the violin raged on never skipping a note in a fast-paced race of crescendo with Nagatani racing behind to catch up building to a thrilling and compelling climax
Qualls delivered an assualt of notes that never seemed to stop as Nagatani tried to break from the violin’s swells.
The performances were a delight bringing an exciting and thrilling experience to a close.
Qualls and Nagatani ended the performance by taking a final bow for a one-minute standing ovation.