Thursday, December 2, 2010

Gil Shaham and Petrushka at Pleyel

Prokofiev-Stravinsky-Lyadov, Salle Pleyel, December 1st 2010

Gil Shaham
Interesting concert last night at Pleyel. It will be repeated tonight and for those who cannot go, there is a video of live broadcast available at Arte-Live-Web (this link), or on the site of Cité de la Musique (this link).

The concert actually started with The Enchanted Lake by Anatoly Lyadov, an 8mins long symphonic piece, very much impressionist in spirit --  basically a combination of nature-admiring musical miniatures. It's sweet-sound but I am not convinced I understood why it was programed together with Prokofiev and Stravinsky: it wasn't complementary nor even compatible with what's followed.

First of what followed was Gil Shaham who played the Violin Concerto #2 by Prokofiev in company of Orchestre de Paris conducted by inspiring Dima Slobodeniouk. Gil Shaham has it all: he knows how to combine his natural talent with acquired virtuosity AND include his experience to give this concerto a personal flavor. I thought the second movement (Andante assai) was particularly beautifully performed. The crowd evidently loved it and kept applauding, making Gil return for three encores. How generous is that!

Second part of the concert was devoted to Stravinsky's masterpiece, Petrushka (hypocorism of Peter in Russian). Petrushka that you usually get to listen to is a thinned version of the original score composed in 1911, that Stravinsky himself scaled down in 1947 to be played by less large orchestra. Last night we were offered the more opulent "1911 version" and it was a treat. This is one of those scores that you simply cannot capture from recordings -- its profoundness can only be felt in a concert hall.
Orchestre de Paris was on one of its better nights last night, with Dima Slobodeniouk keeping everything under control without resorting to grand gestures or cheap effects -- clearly avoiding banality in interpretation that this music is unfortunately often subjected to. It was maybe not the level of performance that you get from the Budapest Festival Orchestra performing Petruska (if that level be matched at all?!) but it was very good anyway.

Dima Slobodeniouk

I believe you might enjoy the following cool video with Gil Shaham, posted on the YT channel of Orchestre de Paris:

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