Saturday, September 29, 2007

A concert to die for!

I'd been telling everyone about Giorgi Kharadze, the extremely talented young Tbilisi-born but French-raised cellist, who last night performed Haydn's first cello concerto. I'd been telling them about what a talent he was and what prizes he had won, though I had never heard him play. So I was a little worried in case I had over-sold him.

I did not need to worry! It was a wonderful, wonderful performance. It is not often that I am moved to tears by music, but here I was. Kharadze, a tall and very skinny young man with fingers that the witch from Hansel and Gretel would want to spend much time fattening up, is an extremely impressive communicator. When he plays, totally flawlessly, he looks around the audience and the orchestra (not sure how much he takes in but it's nice for the audience) and it gives just that air of total communication and total togetherness. He was completely and utterly in command of this concerto and there were moments of almost orgasmic beauty. Kharadze has been very involved with the Kronberg Academy in Germany which is a kind of elite training centre for cellists. If he performs anywhere near you, go and see him. If you are in the business of organising concerts, go and engage him!

I need to add that the orchestra did very well playing with him - the final movement was a teeny bit on the fast side, but the orchestra hung in there. (Not every orchestra does that...). The leader of the first fiddles is very impressive and he's got his crew well trained. It's a shame that the conductor seems to think he needs to participate in every encore (so it's usually the final movement again); it gives the impression that the soloist cannot play anything else, but this cannot be so in the cases of the two soloists I heard this week (Natia Buniatishvili has attended Lockenhaus, the Gidon Kremer summer retreat - he only invites the most talented people).

The Haydn was surrounded by two Mozart symphonies, Nos 23 and 36, and Mozart's 'Serenada Notturna' for four orchestras. I've heard this now, and I don't need to hear it again. Like ever. Jeeez, what a boring piece of work. The impression one gets is that it was written for a school with beginners and better players. Orchestras 1 and 2 play fairly elaborate stuff (the same stuff but 2 plays after 1) ; orchestra 3 plays bits of that, and orchestra 4 plays a few chords. The music goes round from 1 to 2 to 3 to 4; always in the same sequence, always with each orchestra playing at its own level. Safe, and dull, dull, dull, dull. One fairly quickly gets the idea, but it goes on and on and on. No thanks!