Matt Worth Marks First-Ever Vocalist at Chamber Music Tuesday with Wonhee Bae
By Alex Heigl
It’s well Worth your time.
SFCM voice faculty Matt Worth (baritone) is the first-ever vocalist featured in a Chamber Music Tuesday program on Feb. 7, singing a Schubert lieder that dovetails with the centerpiece of the evening's other guest artist, violinist Wonhee Bae.
Though Bae has racked up a variety of international awards for her playing both as a soloist and with her group, the Esmé Quartet, she has spent the last 15 years in Germany. For Schubert, she says, "song was really everything," and she pointed out that he uses a melodic line from "Sei mir gegrüßt" later in the Fantasie, which she added is among the most technically difficult and demanding piano and violin pieces in the repertoire.
Given its technical nature, Bae laughed, the Fantasie "is a violin recital piece, so obviously when violinists give a recital, they wouldn't consider having a singer," so she's glad Worth's performance was programmed alongside it.
Bae adds that while the piece features Schubert's "subtle but dynamic harmonic progressions," she hears a bit of a Hungarian folk element to the piece as well, which is echoed in the second half of the program, Bedřich Smetana's Piano Trio No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 15.
"I don't often play piano trios because I either play solo violin or mainly with the string quartet as a first violinist. So the piano trio is very different from playing with only strings because pianists have much more range in what they can create in terms of harmony and kind of texture." The Smetana, she continued, "is the kind of piece that really brings out the pianistic, very extravagant texture of the music."
Worth has been focusing his efforts on Schubert as of late: He performed the composer's Wintereisse cycle at SFCM in December and again at two performances in January, with pianists François Chouchan and Alex Katsman.
The Chamber Music Tuesday series continues all spring, in addition to Bae, future highlights include Opus 3 Artist Benjamin Beilman, and quartet-in-residence the Telegraph Quartet, all in collaboration with SFCM alumni, faculty, and students.