As good as there was the FM broadcast with Alisa Weilerstein and Inon Barnatan the actual concert today in New England Conservatory was a minor disappointment. Well, not really a disappointment – the program was too good to leave indifferent but my initial sentiment about Ms. Weilerstein and Mr. Barnatan got slightly smirked. The FM broadcast was phenomenal. The instrument was perfectly balanced by the WGBH’s engineers and Alisa and Inon played phenomenally. I am still pissed that I tuned radio so late and I did not record it.
In the concert it was not so glorious. The Beethoven’s Sonata No. 5 is relatively not known to me. Weilerstein and Barnatan had difficulties to play it together and the entire play was boring. Also, I was sitting at not the best place and did not like Sound - to get a right sit for cello recital is a tricky thing. As soon the applauds for Beethoven’s started I run to the fist row right in front of Ms. Weilerstein – I know what was coming…
Then there was the Kodály’s Sonata for unaccompanied cello, Opus 8. Well, I hardly believe that more intelligent and glorious work was ever composed for cello. I heard it 4 times live and countless time on recordings. Listening a good play of this work is THE event and listening it “live” is like having sex with own hearing… Unfortunately, I do not particularly like what Alisa Weilerstein did. Her instrument was not right. Alisa has no "bolls" to play it, no sophistications and precisions. I also…. was not sitting at the right place. The Sonata 8 is played with cello’s bass string tuned lower and it has rollercoaster of the cello’s sounds in this work is beyond belief. Unfortunately at the first row of the Jordan Hall I lost whole lower region…
For the Osvaldo Golijov’s piece I move to my favorite location in that hall – to the left extreme balcony. The Osvaldo was present among the audience, Alisa played it – it was nice but nothing special. The good part was that I was able after the Golijov’s works to fine adjust my location moving a few sits further. It was a perfect spot for this hall and for the way how the hall was filed – now I was ready for the punch-line of the entire recital.
The Chopin’s Sonata, Opus 65, Alisa Weilerstein and Inon Barnatan played very well, not as good as on HF but still very good – it was obviously well-rehearsed work for them. I have to admit that I have a soft spot for this Chopin’s Sonata. For whatever reason each time I hear this work I got filed with amazing exuberance and joy. Some glorious recordings from past come to my mind: Gyorgy Sebok and Janos Starker, Jacqueline du Pré and Daniel Barenboim. Recently I go a collection of “forgotten” Russian cellist Danial Shafran who did fine Opus 65. Rostropovich with Argerich played the Sonata, though I am not a big fan of the recording. Among the late recording the Yo-Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax played the word and they did very nice job.
Alisa Weilerstein and Inon Barnatan played it “dirty” in some plated not so well but generally it turned out to be exiting. I will call tomorrow to WGBH and will ask if they will be re-broadcast the recording from the WGBH’s Frasher studio.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/wgbhradio/sets/72157601983642793/Rgs, Romy the Cat