Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hail Shostakovich!

Heard Orpheus Chamber Orchestra again last night, at Carnegie Hall. Did not care very much for the score or the playing of Tippett's Divertimento on "Sellinger's Round" with its English musical allusions.  Jean-Yves Thibaudet, the French pianist, came on next to play, with Louis Hanzlik on trumpet, Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No. 1 in C minor. First time I heard the piano concerto, and I loved it for its youthful brio. It brimmed with ideas and moved with zip. Thibaudet was poetic where the music was poetic and brash where it was brash. A tad too civilized, perhaps, but that might be my prejudice against the French.

After the intermission, we heard Honegger's languorous evocation of a summer morning. Pastorale d’été was quite lovely, if not exactly ground-breaking. Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings concluded the program. Lush and sentimental. I hated it. I thought the musicians were on auto-pilot. Here was where an original interpreter--a conductor, say--could have made a difference. The others--GH, P and J--all liked it most of all the pieces of the program.

Afterwards, we had dinner at Vice Versa, a very gay restaurant in Hell's Kitchen. Good food if small portions. My chestnut tagliatelle with venison ragout was delicious though a little salty. A place to try again. The merlot and zinfandel brought by P and J were very good. By the end of the meal, I had quite forgiven the brusque waiter.

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