Tanya Anisimova

Beguiling Music at Hand

Cellist Tanya Anisimova and pianist Jessica Krash performed an enticing program of Bach, Shostakovich and Messiaen, along with some of their own compositions, at the Hand Chapel on Sunday evening as part of the George Washington University "In" Series at Mount Vernon College.

Anisimova opened with "Song on Mount San Angelo," commemorating the landscape at the Virginia arts colony where she wrote it. The sonorous piece built from a simple atonal melody to a vigorous center that expressed the depth of a thoughtful soul. Native Washingtonian Krash joined Anisimova for the Sonata for Cello and Piano, written by Krash in 1991 and recently revised. The spare composition descends from works by French avant-garde composers such as Erik Satie, and features rapid phrases, bright punctuation, pauses and unresolved movement endings. The musicians played with compelling energy and the counter-rhythms in the third movement demanded intuitive timing by the duet.

Krash's postmodernist comment on the information age, "Details at 11," followed. She set out repeating sequences of staccato parts, interrupting the motifs then returning to them, suggesting the chaos of contemporary experience. Anisimova enthralled the audience with a virtuoso unraveling of J.S. Bach's Sarabande from Partita No. 2 and Prelude from Partita No. 3. For Dmitri Shostakovich's Sonata in D Minor, Op. 40, the women played as if they were one person, gracing technical precision with spiritual authority. After the emotional tumult of Shostakovich, a meditative prayer by French mystic Olivier Messiaen, "Louange a l'Eternite de Jesus," closed the program on a hopeful note.

The Washington Post
L. Peat O'Neil, March 31, 1999