Canon — Lyric Pieces, Book 3, Op. Papillon Butterfly — II. Au pays natal In the Homeland — IV. Petit oiseau Little Bird — V. Erotique Erotik — VI. Valse-impromptu — II. Le berger Herdboy — II. Marche des nains March of the Trolls — IV. Notturno — V. Scherzo — VI. Gade — III. Illusion — IV. Secret — V. Elle danse She Dances — VI. Sylphe — II. Gratitude — III.
Ruisselet Brooklet — V. Vers la patrie Homeward. Salon — V. Nervure de feuille Veined Leaf — VI. Soir en haute montagne Evening in the Mountains — V. Au berceau Cradle Song — VI. Lutin Puck — IV. La paix des bois Peace of the Woods — V. Halling — VI. Souvenirs Remembrance.
VEL Booklet. He was a committed man, on a perpetual quest for perfection. It never left him. Even in the middle of the night. He knew all the music in the world. The third movement really is very different to its precursors. Whether that might be explained by the insidious influences of the Soviet Composers at the Congress of is debatable; but there certainly does seem to be more of a Prokofiev in the aggressively spiky writing of the solo line and much of the transparent, even minimalist accompanimental writing calls to mind Stravinskian neo-Classicism.
And yet it has all the best hallmarks of the composer: memorable melodies coupled to insightful harmonies; beautifully conceived instrumental solos; assured — even lush — string writing; blistering brass outbursts; driving rhythms and superb orchestral colours. Not a bad check list for a conductor to tick off and Moody and his players managed high scores in almost all of them. The only element I found slightly lacking was the sheer self-indulgent beauty of some of the more lugubrious passages.
The modern world is curious in this regard; whilst the media seemingly afford opportunity for — perhaps even require — the display of an overt emotional reaction by all from politicians to celebrities to victims of personal tragedy, there nevertheless exists a scornful distaste of anything that might be characterized as being sentimental or displaying an inner despair.
And yet this is almost the bed-rock on which this symphony is founded. The second movement fared least well in this regard, never quite achieving the sheer abandon that gives rise to an uneasy sense of suppressed hysteria and that makes of it a confession almost too distressing to be overheard. Both artists, the fleet-fingered pianist in particular, adopted a neo-Mozartian approach appropriate to this repertoire. This found Mr Ramm unleashing the full gamut of his very considerable technical and musical prowess, thrillingly essaying the titanic hurdles of the extraordinary score which Britten bestowed upon his muse, the great Mstislav Rostropovich in Here Dr Wallick remained discreetly in accompanist mode.
Ravinia — Bryan Wallick, Piano. It is likely that a youthful firestorm of technical thundering carried him to that gold medal. One who has not lived a life, no matter the veracity of a youthful talent, can bring the most fulsome passions to account.
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There is such a sustained joy that beams from this mature artist, confined, as is the fate of the concert pianist, to an angle which shields part of the facial expression from those who beg to share the music. In every flick of the eye, in every wry twist of the corner of his mouth, in every soulful returning to the keys after a moment of aching quiet, this artist invites a conversation. Wallick always has something to say, a thought to elucidate, an emotion to explore, and to refuse his invitation to this dance is to squander talents.
Wallick played Bach with a sensuality that can only be realized by giving attention to the tiny, internal phrasings of a larger musical statement. Once again, it was the studied weight for each individual digital message with which Wallick lead us on this merry dance, always humming the theme while letting Brahms toss his compositional hair about, birthing the chords that would throw the door open to others, a door through which a young Gershwin would one day waltz, that won us the prize.
The heretofore warmly calculating, joyfully jocular Wallick brought every eye to the keyboard, as he brought the weight and his truth of this crowd-pleasure to full flower. Here Wallick displayed a different kind of passion than we had heard earlier. At times there was a wall of sound that left us breathless, and the clear rapidity of all of the notes of downward scales was so smooth as to sound like a glissando that somehow encompassed the black keys as well.
How is it that Bryan Wallick is no a household name in this country? This can only be the difficulty of continuing a career on an international platform while raising children and musical expectations in South Africa. We must hope that his new professional responsibilities will give his career a greater international attention. Wallick has received a grant from the Scottsdale Center to create a cross-spectrum musical event, showcasing his personal experience wherein he sees a color with every musical pitch.
But the major draw was certainly Wallick. The Piano Concerto No. Yet in the first all-orchestral passage, we also had an illustration of the pitfalls of a chamber orchestra reading of works of this breadth and power: The twenty string players were overmatched by the zealous though arrestingly beautiful reeds and brass. Later in the work, particularly in the finale, the balances were more equitable, and in the larger picture, the performance was like a living dissertation on the state of the orchestra c.
The rapid expansion of the number of string players occurred in large part because of the improvement in wind instruments, the fact that composers were writing for a wider variety of reeds and brass in greater numbers, and they made a stronger sound. And now we can put the criticism regarding balances in the all-but-a-quibble file. The tradeoff is, when artists who work so well together as Wallick and Sewell, as well as the rank and file of the orchestra itself, precious stretches of transparent playing that, at best, are rare when larger orchestras go full bore on the big works.
Lyric Pieces, Op.38 (Grieg, Edvard)
This was never truer than in the shimmering slow movement of the concerto … liquid moonlight being produced by Wallick, the orchestra reflecting it with a shimmer of its own. We are so fortunate to have had him in Madison on more than one occasion, and if Sewell manages to bring him back again feel free, sir!
May must be the month for Beethoven. The Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra closed its season with an all-Beethoven program. But Wallick promptly showed, in the first movement, a pattern of beginning heroically but then pulling back as soon as possible into delicate understatement. That approach was quite apt in the thoughtful middle movement, which he treated as soulful repose. Then the pianist returned to the alternation of epic and poetic in the final movement. In a sense, this approach created an inconsistency, but it was clearly an effort to escape the stereotyping of this work by suggesting a range of expression beyond the conventional.
I had the good fortune to speak with Wallick after the concert and he indicated that a chamber orchestra affords him the opportunity for projecting such a range. I found this performance one of the most thoughtful and interesting I have ever encountered of the work.
More by Kelly Harlock
Gade, Op. Entschwundene Tage Forgotten days , Op. Total Playing Time: Composition Title. Disc Title.