Lisa Batiashvili and the Philadelphians at the Academy of Music

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Ricordanza
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Lisa Batiashvili and the Philadelphians at the Academy of Music

Post by Ricordanza » Sun Jan 23, 2022 5:22 pm

Following a concerto performance, it’s customary for the conductor to shake hands with the soloist. Sometimes, they embrace. Once, I’ve seen a kiss on the lips (Charles Dutoit to his “ex,” pianist Martha Argerich). But I’ve never seen what Philadelphia Orchestra music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin did after violinist Lisa Batiashvili finished her performance: he dropped down on all fours on the podium and bowed down to her! Was she that good? Well, yes.

The piece in question was the Violin Concerto No. 1 by the Polish composer Karol Szymanowski (1882 – 1937). This composer’s style could be described as Debussy meets late Scriabin. There’s some impressionism, some mysticism, several unsettling moments balanced by a good dose of lyricism, and plenty of orchestral color. The violin part is searing and dark at times, and clearly challenging. The Georgian-born violinist (the country, not the state) delivered what can only be described as a breathtaking performance of this work.

It was almost enough to persuade me to love this piece. Granted, this was my first hearing, but I found it a little difficult to grasp the structure of this one-movement work, as well as to appreciate the frequent shifts in musical ideas. But it certainly deserves another hearing; maybe it will grow on me.

Batiashvili returned to the stage for the performance of a more familiar work for violin and orchestra: Poème by the French composer Ernest Chausson (1855 – 1899). This is Chausson’s most famous work. Indeed, some label him, unfairly, a one-hit wonder; I say unfair because his Symphony is a masterful and appealing work. Nevertheless, Poème is a richly melodic and passionate work which has earned its enduring status. The passion and poetry were clearly evident in the performance by Batiashvili and the orchestra.

The Philadelphia Orchestra usually performs in Verizon Hall in the Kimmel Center, but it was altogether appropriate that the orchestra returned to its old home, the Academy of Music, for one series of concerts in light of the last work on the program: Rachmaninoff’s Isle of the Dead. Leopold Stokowski led the Philadelphians’ first performance of this work in this very hall in 1913. And none other than the composer himself conducted the orchestra for the first recording of this tone poem in 1929. Of course, the musicians and the conductor are entirely different today, but there was no mistaking the special connection between Rachmaninoff and the Philadelphians when they performed this rhythmic and mysterious work on Thursday night.

I should add that this was our first Philadelphia Orchestra in nearly two years. In deference to the pandemic, our vaccination status was checked before we entered the concert hall, and we were required to wear our masks throughout the concert. These inconveniences were a small price to play for a night of magnificent music.

Rach3
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Re: Lisa Batiashvili and the Philadelphians at the Academy of Music

Post by Rach3 » Sun Jan 23, 2022 7:30 pm

Thanks for the review !! I am envious.

I have tried , on and off for years , to appreciate the Szymanowski violin concertos.Without success.

Thanks also for the suggestion of the Chausson Symphony.Not sure I've heard that ; in any event, will now. His " Poeme " is another work with which I do not connect. Fww, 2 works of his I do enjoy greatly are his Op.3 Piano Trio and Op.21 Concert for Violin,Piano and String Quartet:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAN1Pai ... GY&index=5 ( Trio )

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPJqX-2VYmY (Quartet )

Ricordanza
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Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2005 4:58 am
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Re: Lisa Batiashvili and the Philadelphians at the Academy of Music

Post by Ricordanza » Mon Jan 24, 2022 6:24 am

Rach3 wrote:
Sun Jan 23, 2022 7:30 pm
Thanks also for the suggestion of the Chausson Symphony.Not sure I've heard that ; in any event, will now. His " Poeme " is another work with which I do not connect.
I will admit that it took a few tries before I connected with "Poeme." The Symphony was a hit with me from the first time I heard it.

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