Bach: Suite No1 in E minor, BWW 996 (I. Passagio; Presto, II. Allemande, III. Courante, IV. Sarabande, V. Bourrée, VI. Gigue) - George Nickson
Mahler: From Des Knaben Wunderhorn ("Selbstgefuhl", "Nicht wiedersehen", "Scheiden und Meiden") - DongWon Kim (Baritone), Yoko Kida (Piano)
Rossini: "Largo al factotum" from Il barbiere di Siviglia - DongWon Kim (Baritone) and Yoko Kida (Piano)
Schumann: Sonata No 1 in A minor, Op. 105 - David McCarroll (Violin) and Dina Vainshtein (Piano)
Spring is in the air and so is The Conservatory Project at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, where for a whole week the most brilliant students of the most prestigious music schools in the nation perform for all and for free. Thursday evening was unfortunately the only evening I would get to enjoy those in-progress talents, from the highly regarded New England Conservatory of Music this time, as a prelude to the National Symphony Orchestra concert that unfortunately constrained me to leave slightly before the end.
The first musician, George Nickson, was presenting the unique combination of Bach and marimba. While there's no denying that Bach's genius is easily adaptable, hearing his works played on an instrument that has - at least for me - very exotic resonances was definitely odd. Interesting, yes, but still pretty odd.
Then we were back on more familiar territory with three lieder from Mahler and an aria from Rossini. The young baritone DongWon Kim assuredly took the stage and had no trouble keeping it, whether he was channeling innocuous silliness, sweet sorrow or bright resignation. After Mahler's various moods, he whole-heartedly belted "Largo al factotum" from Il Barbiere di Siviglia and left us all with those resounding notes still ringing in our ears.
As the concert was getting better and better, I was deeply disappointed to be only able to stay for the first movement of the Schumann sonata and to have to miss all of Bartok's Romanian Folk Dances. Dina Vainshtein and David McCarroll all but cruelly emphasized the dreadfully bad timing as they beautifully unfolded Schumann's first movement in all its gentle Romanticism.