Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Emmanuel Ax, Yo-Yo Ma & Itzakh Perlman - Mendelssohn - 03/31/09

Mendelssohn: Song Without Words in D Major, Op. 109
Mendelssohn: Song Without Words in E Major, Op. 19b, No. 1 (arr. Heifetz)
Mendelssohn: Song Without Words in E Major, Op. 38, No. 3 (arr. Patrick Castillo) Mendelssohn: Piano Trio No. 1 in D Minor, Op. 49
Mendelssohn: Song Without Words in C Minor, Op. 38, No. 2 (arr. Castillo)
Mendelssohn: Song Without Words in G Major, Op. 62, No. 1 (arr. Castillo)
Mendelssohn: Song Without Words in F-sharp Minor, Op. 30, No. 6, "Venetianisches Gondellied" (arr. Castillo)
Mendelssohn: Song Without Words in A-flat Major, Op. 38, No. 6, "Duetto" (arr. Castillo)
Mendelssohn: Piano Trio No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 66


Yesterday afternoon, I took an unusual middle of the week trip to Carnegie Hall, but when the goal is over two hours of listening to the super-star dream team of Emmanuel Ax, Itzakh Perlman and Yo-Yo Ma play some of Mendelssohn's most beloved works, it suddenly all makes sense. While any of these gentlemen could have easily justified going the distance by himself, the combination of the three promised no less than to triple the pleasure, and off I went. After all, isn't it what comp time is for?

It is hard to go wrong with Mendelssohn in terms of pure musical pleasure, and his lovely series of Songs Without Words, a genre he and his equally talented sister Fanny invented, was just the perfect mid-week pick-me-up. Composed by the gradually maturing young prodigy over the course of 13 years and striking the right balance of classical and Romantic styles, these brilliant little gems endlessly displayed his trademark delightful freshness and unlimited gift for melody-making. Performed in various combinations, they filled the over-flowing Perelman auditorium with grace and luminosity.
His two piano trios, respectively written in Dusseldorf in 1839 and Frankfurt in 1845, are considerably longer and meatier fare. The three esteemed colleagues and close friends, obviously very comfortable with one another after decades of collaboration, displayed their widely acknowledged talents as both soloists and ensemble's partners to the audience's rapturous appreciation.

Breaking away from Mendelssohn, the loudly begged for encore was, after much spirited debate among the trio, the Andante from Brahms' Piano Trio No 2 in C. As Itzakh Perlman pointed out, "It's the Mendelssohn's year" and "Mendelssohn and Brahms kind of knew each other, so there is a connection". And indeed, Brahms' exquisite piece was a truly delectable way to end an enchanted evening.

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