Robert Evett – Capriccio – Bertha Melnik, piano – WOR/WNYC – 1945 –
Diving into somewhat out-of-the-way Americana this week. The music of Robert Evett, played by Bertha Melnik in this 1945 broadcast of the 6th Annual American Music Festival sponsored by WNYC.
Robert Evett is not well known as a composer, although he did compose some 40 works for a variety of vocal and instrumental ensembles. He studied under Roy Harris and served for a time as Chairman of the Music Department at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in Washington D.C. before heading off to a life of journalism, first as Book Editor and Music Critic for The New Republic and then over to The Washington Star. His work is primarily characterized as neo-classical with occasional forays into harmonic dissonance.
Piano soloist Bertha Melnik is probably better known as a vocal coach than a pianist, even though her musical training was initially as a pianist. Studying first with Alexander Siloti (pupil of Liszt) and later in Paris with Robert Casadesus. Her pianistic talents did continue for several years on Broadway as Conductor/Pianist on such productions as “Jacques Brel Is ALive And Well And Living In Paris” as well as accompanist for such artists as Bernard Greenhouse. She was also pianist and assistant conductor for the New York City Opera before eventually transition over to vocal coaching, where her roster of students reads like a who’s who in Opera.
This episode of the 6th Annual American Music Festival features Robert Evett’s Capriccio, one of five written between 1943-1949) as performed by Bertha Melnik.
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