Thursday, July 22, 2021

another Menlo concert

I thought I was done with Menlo, but the press officer invited me to Wednesday's "Prelude" concert, so I went.

Prelude concerts are performed by the young professionals of the International Program, and in normal years they precede the mainstage concerts, thus the name. But this year they're tucked in midweek, and there are only 6 players - 2 violin, 2 cello, 2 piano - so in place of the usual mix-and-match they're stuck playing programs of 2 piano trios. (Their ethnic makeup is interesting also: 5 women of East Asian origin or ancestry, and 1 African-American man.)

Furthermore, the musicians have also been put on the mainstage programs this year, something only tentatively tried out before, so I've heard most of them already.

This program contained two of the trios from Beethoven's Op. 1, in which you can hear him just beginning to figure out how to sound like Beethoven. Fine performances, restrained technically but full of drive and enthusiasm which kept the music from sounding routine.

Also, little trace of the overbearing-piano acoustical issues I'd noted before. The piano tended to be too strong in the tutti chords, but that was about it: no driving the strings aurally offstage or anything like that. I must presume the artists had heard the previous concerts and learned to adjust for the hall: they certainly wouldn't have needed my review to describe the problem. I heard similar adjustments over the first season in Bing, so this is normal.

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