Sunday, May 10, 2009

The twelve-fingered pianist

Last concert of the National Symphony Orchestra's season last night, with the boss Juozas Domarkas conducting and Vestard Shimkus as the soloist in Brahms' second piano concerto.

Shimkus is but a young lad, aged 23 or 24, and a very talented young man, with a nice communicative personality. Apparently he had very much his own ideas about the Brahms, which caused some difficulties in the first rehearsal - the orchestra and conductor could not go into automatic drive, as they might have liked to have done. I wondered if the piece had any lyrical moments - there was not that much lyricism that came across. But he did play exquisitly and had some lovely interactions with the orchestra, where the first horn played the opening beautifully; this is not always guaranteed with the horn section in this orchestra.  He must be a 'product' of the Russian school; he does that thing with a handkerchief, cleaning the keyboard between every movement.  Only Russians do that.  His encores was a piece, seemingly for 12 fingers, which sounded like a variation on a folk song type thing (a Latvian folk song?).  It was astonishing! Then a bit of Bach and finally, to make a point, an arrangement of 'Guten Abend, gute Nacht'. He's great at interaction with the audience, which really helps to create a fan base.

The second half was Ravel and Ravel. First the Spanish Rhapsody, and then the Bolero - which allowed the orchestra's soloists and then some (saxophonists) to show off their skills. In the Rhapsody there were some iffy wind moments, and it could have done with more zing and panache; the Bolero was stunning - with the percussionist motoring on and on and on. I thought that he really must not think as he plays the same few bars over and over again. There was a very young cor anglais player who had me at the edge of my seat; he coped very well indeed and played some haunting solos.

It was a great ending to the Symphony Orchestra concert season (today there's a Filharmonija club picnic, and I'm missing another concert of Haydn; missed a trick there) - with an encore of the end of the Bolero and a standing ovation.

After the concert there was a wee reception, with the prime minister there. He's a surprisingly short guy (accompanied by some huge guy; his PPS?). I'm not that fond of his politics seeing the tax changes linked to his austerity budget cause me some austerity, too, but it was good to see that he did only a very tiny speech. Seems to be a sensible guy after all (and after doing some work researching the Lithuanian pensions system this week I can see that austerity is needed).


Anonymous said...

Hello to all, this is my 4 first message. I found your plat sooner than connector [url=http://viagras.ru/page.php?rbase=violainvilnius.blogspot.com]27 catalog[/url] . Content don't be angry on newbie veirty!