encore! ah, there’s just nothing like cheering for a soloist and having them treat me to just one more small musical nugget… something to put away in my mental handbag and take with me as a souvenir… something that doesn’t happen all the time… something that’s (gasp!) not even in the written program. it’s fun – perfect strangers will turn to each other and inquire: “do you know what that was?” i vividly recall last year standing at the downstairs urinals elbow to elbow in-between two old guys who were going back and forth with each other trying to figure out what the encore was. “kinda sounded like mendelssohn to me,” says george from the left. “i don’t know, george, i’m pretty sure that was schubert,” says the other guy from the right. george offers an affirmative grunt and replies, “you know, you’re probably right about that.” but i digress.
in my hands i have the full encore report from the classical beaver investigative office: saturday evening ms. wang apparently played another rachmaninoff bonus piece, something called vocalise. i don’t know anything more about it, but i’m sure it was stunning. sunday she allegedly played a piano arrangement composed by vladimir horowitz, based on the opera carmen. maestro carlos said yuja asked him backstage if she could play this for an encore; he says sure, but he’s going out on stage with her so he can watch. and sure enough, he pops a squat on his podium up close and personal, just like he did when arnoldo cohen played that amazing brazilian tango encore last may. i daresay monday’s standing ovation for yuja wang was the most raucously loud i’ve heard a classical crowd in the schnitz – and i was at the yo-yo ma concert. so it wasn’t too much of a surprise when ms. wang took her seat at the piano bench once again to play a lil’ sumpin’ sumpin’ for the audience. after just finishing the rach 3 (!), she dives into mozart’s über-popular turkish march (trust me, you know it even if you think you don’t), unbelievably arranged by a young russian hotshot named arcadi volodos. this alone was worth the price of admission monday night. the crowd went apeshit. and then she surprisingly plays one last beautiful rachmaninoff piano arrangement (gluck’s dance of the blessed spirits, for those of you keeping score at home). what a night!
oh, and i emailed yuja about her stunning red gown. it was a carlos miele.