pretty in pinchas – part III

so did you happen to catch christa wessel’s radio interview with pinchas zukerman?  during the on-air chat, c-dub asked the maestro to shed some light on the program’s violin concerto, to which p-zuk responded: “It’s good stuff, but it’s not the greatest Haydn.”  i appreciated zukerman’s candidness and, in mild defense, would only like to add that haydn’s good stuff happens to be comparable to most composers’ great stuff – the equivalent of sipping some mediocre dom perignon vintage.  c’est (still) magnifique!  after intermission the soloist/conductor, a shock of silver hair atop black armani pj’s carrying a glowing del gesù and bow, strolled onto the schnitzer stage to join with his sheet music, a harpsichordist, and the oregon symphony’s elite 26-member special ops string section.  the gang came perilously close to chamber music territory with this number, where there ain’t much room to acoustically hide.  thankfully (as has already been proven countless times in the past) our band can play anything, and if the music calls for precise clarity, impeccable timing, and a willingness to be musically naked in front of 2,000 people, principals like peter and joël and nancy and frank will eagerly disrobe to show us their metaphoric goods.  and mr. zukerman?  well, unsurprisingly he was an absolute treat throughout the concerto, spinning melodies like golden thread and effortlessly projecting incredible sound to the upper balcony’s stratosphere.  (seriously, with that kind of volume, i humbly suggest the 269-year-old fiddle be re-nicknamed the nigel tufnel.)  as is customary, an insane cadenza near the end of the first movement proved jaw-dropping for both audience and band members alike – a solo turn utterly exposed and miraculously clean, performed by a master.  from first note to last, the haydn concerto was haute cuisine for the cochlea, eschewing quantity for quality.  yum!

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