Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Tony de Mare's Passion

Caught Anthony de Mare last night at Carnegie Hall. The Zankel Hall space is a gorgeous 600 seat recital hall underground on the Sixth Avenue side of the complex. Acoustically awesome. (But a little too close to the 6th Avenue subway line, if you know what I mean).

I'd caught de Mare years ago at Joe's Pub in a concert collaboration with an avante garde cellist.

But as a soloist, he truly shines. Combining a sexy passion for the keys with a sly sense of musical humor, Tony displays an offbeat affection for alternative sounds from his lips, body and unexplored parts of the piano itself. He vocalizes text, song, grunts, and moans at alternating times in this contemporary collection to impress and entertain, and to impart wisdom and enlightenment.

Mr. de Mare debuted four World Premiere pieces last night. Mr. Broadway by Jason Robert Brown, Isle of the Manhattoes by Paul Moravec, Gotham Glory by David Del Treci, and Fred Hersch's Saloon Songs. Beginning and ending the program were Gotham Lullaby by Meredith Monk and De Profundis by Frederic Rzewski.

A fascinating selection by a brilliant performing artist. He and his brilliant musicality were extremely well received by this knowing New York crowd...

Management is by Sue Bernstein Artist's Management, a roster that never ceases to impress.

(Image from


Anonymous said...

What a nice surprise to read this morning that Mr. Hell's Kitchen also attended last evening's performance of Mr. de Mare. I have been a fan of his work for many years and during his early zanier days. He has matured into a complex and cerebral performer without losing his wonder and creative imagination.

------> H.W. Adamson

Anonymous said...

NY Times critic today, 3-17-05, seems to be a stodgy purist.

Anonymous said...

Yeah. Typical. Sounds like this guy is trying to do something that's a little different. And the critic doesn't like it different. Ouch on the practice comment, though. That's gotta hurt.

-- Mike Buckingham

Anonymous said...

I quite agree with you Mr. Hell's Kitchen and all who have posted here.

I just sent the following email to Mr. Tommasini and the editor of the NY Times Arts section. With any luck they will publish it in the Arts editorial section.

Dear Mr. Tommasini,

It is quite unfortunate and unfair for you to choose to end your review of Mr. de Mare’s recent performance at Zankel Hall by saying, “Mr. de Mare may need to practice more.” While there are several points in your review which we all may agree or disagree with, it is that one specific point that I must take issue. Mr. de Mare is an exceptionally talented pianist and one of the hardest working artists in the field. I know this because I am a close friend of Anthony’s and I have personally witnessed his efforts as a pianist over the past 14 years of knowing him. In all these years, never once has Mr. de Mare ceased to amaze me with his discipline and dedication to his work. He is a consummate professional who is assiduous in his practice, always striving to produce the highest quality of artistry and skill in his performances. Whether it is Zankel Hall or any less prestigious venue, he works diligently to maintain these standards. My point is that he never stops practicing. He never stops thinking about the music. He never stops being an artist.

People take heed to what you say. The ramifications of your words regarding his pianistic skills may only be determined at some point in the future. As an artist, I’m sure Mr. de Mare has taken your words to heart.

Please understand that my objection has nothing to do with your opinion of the actual concert or of Anthony’s interpretation of the music. I know you have praised Mr. de Mare’s work in the past and that this is not a personal attack. Personally, I felt that Mr. de Mare played extremely well and that his technique was sharp and dexterous. He has an uncanny ability to bring out the nuances and textures of today’s most challenging compositions. That is why so many of our most noted composers entrust their work to Mr. de Mare’s capable hands. This raises yet another point. How much of this wonderful piano music would exist today if not for Anthony’s tireless efforts to commission these works?

Mr. de Mare has certainly earned his place as one of the leading pianists of contemporary works and like any artist of his professional level he deserves to be treated with more respect and without condescension; e.g., “Mr. de Mare may need to practice more.”

Thank you for your time.

Anthony F. Razzano

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Anonymous said...

It is quite common for an artist that bridges worlds, in this case Mr. de Mare incorporating other talents into his music concert presentations, that leaves the serious critic befuddled.

I agree with the last poster (with the triple finger!) that the Times review seemed mean spirited.

The good news is that the Times review will eventually fade away. And it is up to Mr. de Mare to see that his own artistry and music does not!

------> H.W. Adamson

Anonymous said...

"Critics are those who have failed in literature and art."

Benjamin Disraeli quotes (British prime minister and novelist. 1804-1881).


Anonymous said...

You can please some of the people some of the time, ETC, ETC, ETC