Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Tonight, back in Vilnius, a concert of the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, the conductor Robertas Servenikas, and the Russian pianist Aleksey Volodin. Mozart's piano concerto No 25 and two pieces by the US composer William Bolcom.

Volodin had apparently played in Vilnius before (maybe standing in at short notice for Denis Matsuev?), possibly one of the usual piano warhorses. Even then there were some issues. However, with the Mozart today there were big issues. It seemed the music had no forte or piano (except right at the beginning of the second movement). Everything else was played at a mezzo forte, and it seemed as if all the movements had a big 'cantabile' written over them. The last movement was incredibly slow and REALLY SAFE. The conductor kept giving the soloist very precise entries. A totally spineless performance. There was some oddness (intentional??) in some of the cadenzas, and some more oddities in the second movement which had ornaments in places where they should not have been.

The Bolcom pieces were interesting; both involved an orchestra with a piano as an orchestral instrument. The first, 'Almost', a 'comedy' for 18th century orchestra consisted of tunes/harmonies straight from the 18th century mixed with shrill modern music (though perhaps not as shrill as Schnittke. Probably Bolcom has not suffered as much pain in his life as Schnittke). The symphony, apparently of 4 movements but I could only distinguish 3 movements, was quite interesting. It started and closed with white noise from the violins with different bits of tune, squeaks and tootles from the winds and the piano/celesta/keyboard (the pianist Sergey Okrushko was spinning like a top). The second movement was very American, with a beautiful country and western waltz just for the violas, followed by some yee-haw kind of stuff. The orchestra enjoyed this, as did the audience. It was quite fun music, and the orchestra managed to hang on in there thanks to the very clear conducting. Was not as good as the concert 11 days ago, though.


Mariya Volodina said...

To my dear husband, pianist Alexei Volodin! I will always stand by you in our Life and your concerts. You are A TRUE GENIUS! Your wife Mariya.