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MUSIC REVIEWS : Hinds Warmly Received at Getty

August 15, 1994|DANIEL CARIAGA

Veteran mezzo-soprano Ruby Hinds was the principal, with pointed assistance from violinist Lyndon Taylor and pianists Gloria Cheng and Robert Winter, on a program entitled, "The Dawn of Modernism" at the Getty Museum Saturday night.

The fourth of five summer concerts at the Malibu space, this event, like those that preceded it, seemed to be one of the better-kept secrets of this outdoor music season--the concerts are given in the Inner Peristyle Garden at the museum. Still, a large and enthusiastic audience, so enthusiastic it applauded in all the wrong places, attended. Available seating there was, but parking was in short supply.

Hinds, a handsome woman gowned on this occasion in elegant Chinese red, provided the core performances, music written between 1889 and 1911, a period which, according to Cheng's informative program notes, was stylistically as many-headed as our own.

The mezzo-soprano's singing of pieces by Wolf and Chabrier, Zemlinsky and Mahler, may not have been textually probing--too many words emerged clouded for intelligibility--but it was delivered with warm tone, musical directionalism and a clear sense of mood.

Best perhaps was her performance of Mahler's familiar "Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen," which closed the program proper. She also excelled at three virtually forgotten chansons by Chabrier and delivered the changing moods in turn-of-the century songs by Alexander Zemlinsky. In all these, and in Mahler, too, Cheng was her sensitive collaborator.

In between, violinist Taylor revived charming virtuoso pieces by Sinding and Rudi Stephan (1887-1915) with abundant skill and ease, and Cheng and Winter traversed the fascinations of Erik Satie's historic, four-handed "Trois Morceaux en forme de poire" (1903).

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