Friday, January 16, 2009

Millennium Stage - Sitt, Haydn, Brahms, Saint-Saens & Dvorak - 01/15/09

Sitt: Concert Piece in G Minor
Haydn: Cello Concerto in C Major (III - Allegro molto)
Brahms: Clarinet Sonata No 2 in E-flat, Op. 120
Saint-Saens: Violin Concerto No 3 in B Minor, Op. 61 (I - Allegro non troppo)
Dvorak: Cello Concerto in B minor, Op. 104 (I - Allegro)

Yesterday evening was a wonderful opportunity to hear some young artists belonging to the NSO Youth Program before enjoying their more seasoned mentors an hour later. The play list featured a wide range of classical works, starting with Sitt's little-known viola piece and ending with Dvorak's much loved cello concerto. As usually these students displayed a wide range of skills, but their obvious enthusiasm and dedication easily made up for any unfortunate mishap.

The first piece was probably the more obscure of them all, therefore a nice surprise. It masterfully highlighted an instrument much less popular than its close cousin, the violin, but nevertheless quietly effective: the viola. While its sound may not be very familiar, the young violist did a wonderful job at bringing forward its possibilities, especially during the more lyrical passages.
Next was Haydn's cello concerto during which the soloist made a special effort to emphasize its elegance, and succeeded for the most part. There was a bit of a coordination snafu between him and the accompanist at the very end, but it was overall a fine performance.
Brahm's clarinet sonata rose light and clear, adding a little bit of ethereal wind to all these impetuous strings.
Then the first notes of Saint-Saens' violin concerto livened things up with their gypsy flair and was a real pleasure to listen to.
Alas, I had to leave during Dvorak's richly melodic cello concerto to make my way to the concert hall, but I still managed to catch a few minutes of it, and it sounded very promising indeed.

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