Oboist Kelly Peral performed to a small but enthusiastic audience Sunday afternoon, November 10, 2018. The recital was part of the University of Virginia Chamber Music Series, and it was a good one.
Peral’s program ranged from the Baroque to the present. A 1728 sonata by Giovanni Boni represented the Baroque. The Sonata in G is a light, four-movement composition that simply entertains. Ms. Peral’s agility was exceptional, especially in the final movement with its wide leaps and runs.
For Deux Rhapsodies for oboe, viola, and piano, violist Ayn Balija joined Peral and accompanist John Mayhood on stage. Charles Martin Loeffler was a violinist as well as a composer. Although all three instruments had plenty to do, it sometimes seemed to me almost a work for viola plus oboe and piano.
This early 20th Century work is full of rich, complex harmonies that Mayhood played with relish. The warm, expressive nature of the melodies was handled beautifully by Balija and Peral. When they played in unison, they were perfectly in synch, their instrumental sounds blending beautifully.
The second half of the program opened with Solo de Concours No. 7 by Charles Colin. Colin was an exceptional 19th Century oboist. His eight Solo de Concours are often used in oboe competitions because of their technical demands.
Ms. Perel is beyond mastery of those demands. Her playing sounded relaxed and unforced. Her performance relayed the essence of the work, rather than the superficial challenges of the notes.
The recital ended with another work by an oboist/composer, Alyssa Morris, representing the present. Her 2007 work Four Personalities was inspired by the Hartman Personality Test. And it gave Ms. Perel to assume four different personalities as well — the jazzy “Yellow,” jittery, arhythmic “White,” lyrical “Blue” and salsa “Red.” Ms. Perel performed each movement with aplomb.
Kudos also go to pianist John Mayhood. He and Ms. Perel worked as a team, making each piece a true collaboration. The final work brought the audience to their feet. It was a well-deserved standing ovation.