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Ohlsson and an Easter for the Senses – Lyric Say

Trying affably avuncular, towering pianist Garrick Ohlsson strode onto the Jordan Corridor stage for this Easter afternoon Boston Symphony Chamber Gamers live performance, that includes befitting Bach, adopted by Messiaen’s Quatuor pour la Fin du Temps, maybe epitomizing it. I dare say most who attended have been glad of their resolution to forego or postpone a vacation dinner. For one factor, Ohlsson and the opposite excellent musicians exemplified sentience with out gravity.

Bach composed the WTC E-book  II (preludes and fugues in each main and minor key) twenty years or so after the primary. It possesses mature nuance, well-delivered by Ohlsson. The prelude of BWV 882 in F-sharp Main confers a exact and delicate temper, with two predominant, calmly articulated themes and several other parts, hinting of French type. I felt the pianist’s interpretation reverential and stately, but approachable. His phrasing appeared extra elegant than most. The three-part fugue has a triumvirate of distinctive options that recur all through—a trill, a remainder of 1 / 4 be aware, plus an E pure (a so-called flattened 7th, which renders it a signature fugue Bach lovers savor. Listening to it, I mused, “is Ohlsson equal to Bach, or is JSB equal to Ohlsson?” It was scrumptious.

The pianist went on to BWV 883, with its decorative triplets within the prelude requiring “particular” taking part in—and after a false begin, which he gestured with one thing like American Signal Language or a Gallic shrug, he dove in and performed the beautiful 14th Prelude with panache, adopted by the ornate 14th three-themed triple Fugue. In sure methods, the prelude offers a right-hand arioso, accompanied by a lilting left hand, with tantalizing leaps and pianistic flexibilities. The tour-de-force fugue left one breathless with admiration – for Bach and Ohlsson.

BWV 659, based mostly on the acquainted Lutheran hymn, Non komm, der Heiden Heiland, offers a sign instance of the chorale preludes Bach included in organ collections; it’s the first and longest in his Orgelbüchlein. On this live performance, we heard the Busoni association, furnished faithfully, but pianistically becoming for an Easter afternoon.

Lending the intermission for anticipation and pondering, BSO Principal Clarinet, William Hudgins, delivered an articulate, impassioned account of how Olivier Messiaen wrote the extraordinary Quatour underneath starkly inconceivable and difficult circumstances, leaving these beforehand unaware of the deeply spiritual composer’s inspiration whereas imprisoned in Stalag VIIIA.  Certainly, the harshness of that setting and his religion resulted in probably the most elementally shifting works of the 20th century. That its premiere came about within the bitter chilly January in that POW camp led to a sure immortality is, alone, exceptional. The instrumentation—a clarinet (Hudgins), violin (Alexander Velinzon), cello (Blaise Déjardin) and piano (Ohlsson)—was pragmatic: there have been three different musicians within the Stalag to play with Messaien—a violinist, a cellist and a clarinetist. Focus from the gamers, evident on the live performance, is demanded by this lengthy, intricate eight-movement work, which conjures each emotion. Feedback by Messiaen in this system served us nicely.

The temporary preliminary motion, dominated by the clarinet and piano, I, Liturgie de Cristal (Liturgy of Crystal), evokes the predawn birdsong and “the harmonious silence of Heaven,” performed right here with conviction. Inside II, Vocalise, pour l’ange qui annonce la fin du Temps (For the Angel who broadcasts the top of Time) one wonders whether or not Messiaen supposed la Fin to embody termination or boundless religion, although his commentary suggests the latter. Once more, piano and clarinet carried the early part of the motion, with violin and cello offering plainchant accompaniment, whereas later, the piano figuratively moved the seas and land, with the strings contributing eerie bird-like murmuring. The composer described the motion because the manifestation of a “strong” angel lined in a rainbow and clad in clouds, urging the listener to see the notes—one thing Messiaen, along with his sound-color synesthesia did naturally. Hudgins, in Abime des Oiseaux (Abyss of the Birds), for clarinet alone, breathtakingly demonstrated all that instrument can convey. Then, in IV, Intermede (Interlude) Hudgins, Velinzon and Déjardin with out the piano offered a short scherzo-like break, melodies linking with the sooner and later sections. In V, Louange à l’éternité de Jésus (Reward to the eternity of Jesus) Désjardin’s cello grew to become the Phrase, with almost infinite, earnest phrases, with Ohlsson’s chorded base, in the end trailing off in a pianissississimo.  VI, Danse de la fureur, pour les Sept Trompettes (Dance of fury, for the Seven Trumpets), rhythmic with hints of jazz, allowed all gamers to vamp in unison, really creating organized fury in each potential register, ending in an exhaustive fortissississimo. Then, the paranormal VII, Fouillis d’arcs-en-ciel, pour l’ange qui annonce la fin du Temps (Cluster of Rainbows, for the Angel who broadcasts the top of Time) impressed and soothed—each the gamers and viewers, by returning to a number of the melodies and phrases from the second motion, engendering a way of transmigration and creation. Lastly, in VIII, Louange à l’immortalité de Jésus (Reward to the Immortality of Jesus), specializing in the violin with piano, the composer pays musical homage to Jesus as a person, the Phrase embodied as flesh, right here executed faithfully by Velinzon. After the final be aware and harmonics light the viewers waited breathless, appreciative moments, permitting feelings to linger however then roared with a unison of approbation.

Alexander Velinzon, Garrick Ohlsson, Blaise Dejardin, William R. Hudgins (Robert Torres photograph)

Extra Messaien awaits within the “Music for the Senses” performances—April 10th, Catalogue d’Oiseaux, No 3, “le Merle Bleu, as a part of a Music in Drugs collection, and April 11th, when the BSO performs the huge Turangalȋla Symphonie underneath Andris Nelsons with pianist Yuja Wang and Cecile Lartigau on the wailing ondes Martenot. Many people keep in mind the 1975 BSO outing underneath Seiji Ozawa with the Loriod sisters (Yvonne and Jeanne) within the respective title roles.

Julie Ingelfinger studied piano on the Hartt Faculty of Music, Aspen Music Competition and Faculty and at Harvard. She enjoys her day jobs as professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical Faculty, pediatric nephrologist at Mass Common Hospital for Youngsters and deputy editor on the New England Journal of Drugs.

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