Saugerties Pro Musica gaining in stature
December 12, 2002
By Kitty Montgomery, Daily Freeman (Hudson Valley, NY)

SAUGERTIES — Some say Saugerties is the So-Ho of Woodstock. We say this adjunct status is on the verge of extinction as the Saugerties Pro Musica concert series edges toward becomoning a "Woodstock" of classical music.

True, performances at the Maverick's outdoor music bsrn will carry on, as they have for seven decades, but what distinguishes the Saugerties series iis that the board of Pro Musica and its director, Dr. Herman Aah are lining up solo musicians whose stars are on the rise.

Last spring, Sephan Chepatis, an impassioned violinist of multiple genres who gives crossover fiddler Mark O'Connor more than a run – Chepatis' classic interpretations are more profoundly conceived – dazzled the house.

In November, the prodigy ingenue Ashley Bathgate lit a program of cello sonatas, in company with keyboardist Bari Mort of the Da Capa Chamber Players.

An on Sunday, the cello-guitar duo of Michael Kevin Jones and Agustin Maruri returned, as the last stop on a 22-city tour, to offer a program of Spanish flavored compositions specifically composed for their ensemble, or arranged by Maruri.

Therian and Hibernian instincts infuse the play of British-born Kevin Michael and the half-Irish, Madrid-bred Augustin, who were respectively schooled at the London Ryal College and the Madrid Conservatory.

Each sustains international solo careers, and they come together in performance and recordings as a chamber duo with interpretive lights and transparency of technique, fusing in excecutions.

There is a perpetual suspension in their play. Voicings seem refracted from some cosmic satellite, where human passion is returned, touched by the perspective of infinity.

Commencing with seven 14th-centruy soundscapes evoking "the charm of Spain" Jones and Maruri proceeded to Erik Marchelic's Don Quiote Dulcines, composed for their duo. Here, Jones crossed over to the ephmeral, impressionistic spin that makes him unique among a multitude of world class cellists, where line and note evaporate to emit hallucinogenic visions.

Maruri levitates to this realm with him, technical fluency immaculate, each note, animate.

Offering the world premiere of Drew Hemenger's Songs from America, the pair rocked "Were You There" "Evil Hearted Man," "Three Sailor Songs" and "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child" from the same, extraterrestrial perspective they brought to the Spanish inflected works.

Hemenger, who is 24, had something to do with the way these old songs hang up brand new.

Astor Pizzola's Three Tangos never spent with greater grace than in this duo's executions of Maruri's arrangements. He and Jones did hypnotic time-space transport, one more time, in six pieces from Manuel de Falla's Suite Espanola.