Saturday, January 17, 2009

Midori and Brahms

So the program at Memorial Hall Thursday was described as a program of music composers sharing a kindred spirit. I would say the program had a consistent thread but essentially was fulfilled in the first half of the program. The featured performer was the prodigy Midori. Now fully matured and in her mid 30s this is an artist who has the emotional depth and the technical facility to really interpret music. The program began with Dvorak's Slavonic Dances. Three of them to be precise with the first and third being precisely played and very much of a whirling dance feel. The second piece was of another sort entirely. The Slavonic Dance in F Major Op. 4 was played with the feel of an adagio movement inbetween these other two dance pieces making a concerto of sorts of the three. The beautiful melody and harmonic structure of this second dance piece would set the stage for the Brahms Violin Concerto that followed.

Enter Midori attired in a gauzy white and black patterned gown to quietly stun the room into the best kind of musical submission. Intensity with focus is the only way to explain how this piece was played. The Brahms Violin Concerto seems to be very much a players piece of music with lots of room to showcase phrasing and dynamics. The first movement began with what could almost be called a call and response format where the orchestra and the soloist each essentially played in response to the other. The segments of Midori's violin being emphatic in both body language and expressive playing. Midori does not just play she becomes the music at times. Thoroughly at home in the moment you never get the sense that she's doing anything but being a pure conduit for the music itself. So as for pitch and technique and tone, astounding on all counts. Lovely, resonant sustained high notes as well as clear,pleasing phrasing all around. After the first Allegro movement I could have gone home happy it was so terrific. The following Adagio gave us another view of the composer and the artist both stretching out harmonically. After this beautiful respite the intensity rose again for the final Allegro. This third movement was more integrated than the first as far as the playing went, soloist and orchestra together more. I must say the the North Carolina Symphony rose to the challenge of the dynamics within this piece beautifully under the guest conductorship of Michael Christie. This performance was another great evening of music from the N.C. Symphony season.

1 comment:

Ann Marie Simard said...

Very interesting and well writ, love that becomes the music at times. Reminds me of magazine process as well, all in kindred spirit. The type of event you describe as experienced always should be part of creative process and performance, movement, sense of synergy and space. The semantic serials in this writing ring very true and special, Lovely, resonant sustained high notes as well as clear,pleasing phrasing all around.  Not curating experience out of itself just that one wanted a quote. Wonderful just as should be.