Wednesday, April 19, 2023

three concerts

1. I was sent to review the Mission Chamber Orchestra. Unusual repertoire, rare composers I'd heard before, but whom I'd never reviewed. I keep an index of my reviews, and find that I've now covered 500 different composers in my professional reviews. Most-seen name on the list, Beethoven of course, with 74 reviews.

2. Emerson String Quartet, on their farewell tour after nearly fifty years of grinding away at the circuit. A fundamental program, with Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. A highly traditional approach, the kind of superficially featureless playing that I heard on a lot of recordings in my younger days and which made me think I didn't like chamber music. The glories here were subtle: in individual notes and the handing off of parts between the instruments, and that's something you need to learn to listen for. Still, the Second Razumovsky (the Beethoven piece) did achieve an overall shape of beauty, especially in the slow movement. I'd have liked to hear these guys play Op. 132 like that, but you can't have everything.

3. Two young Brits, violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen and pianist James Baillieu, in a program featuring CPE Bach. Three pieces, all of which sounded completely different and none of which were at all like his symphonies, which is what I like him for. Illuminating and strange.

Also on the program, a Duo by Schubert which was hopped up to the extent that it didn't sound at all like Schuberts. Maybe he was on amphetamines. Schubert can surprise you: did I tell you about his Mass that sounded like Philip Glass? And Romances by Schumann, which I seized on as a lifeline because I'd actually heard at least one of these before.

1 comment:

  1. I saw the Emerson only once, years ago in a program of Bright Sheng, Martinu, Saariaho, and maybe one other composer. They were truly astonishing - very large-scale and brilliant playing.