Sunday, July 09, 2006

A beautiful, musical soul

This evening I gave a classical conversation at Gretna Music.

Anna Polonsky was the artist, in a piano recital of mostly Shostakovich and Mozart, with music also by Schumann and Mendlessohn. My talk centered around preludes & fugues - things that Mozart and Shostakovich admired of Bach - complete with musical examples that I played on violin, had the audience sing, and from a cd of examples I compiled.

When I first arrived they were just finishing tuning the piano. Anna was waiting patiently in the audience. I dropped off my violin and briefcase, said hi and made it over to the Jigger Shop for ice cream (it was dinner and energy!)

Anna was praciting when I got back, we did a sound check and we were off. The crowd for the preconcert talk was good, and seemed to enjoy learning a bit about musical form. (They even sang "Row, row, row your boat" as a round for me!)

There were a few questions and a chance to meet some eager WITF listeners - always a great thing to put faces with my audience. Especially nice was to hear positive feedback on Composing Thoughts!

(Everyone agreed I could take their picture for the blog - here's what it looked like from my point of view in front of the stage)

Anna came on stage and took the audience by storm (luckily the storms were musical and not in the form of showers and lightening that had been forecast and which thunder threatened earlier in the evening!)

Her Shostakovich was varied and exciting. Her Mozart was sublime and vivacious. The second half brought more Mozart, with charm and panache, Schumann with intense passion and incredible phrasing, and she ended with maybe my favorite Mendelssohn for the piano, the Rondo capriccioso - setting land speed records for tempo and flair! I'm usually pretty skepitcal of solo piano recitals and of pianists' interpretations - for a "non-keyboard" player myself, I'm very hard on artists - especially to be impressed.

Anna Polonsky's performance blew me away last fall when I first heard her, and she certainly held up my expectations of her musicality with tonight's performance. She is definitely one to watch and to hear - she'll be in Seattle soon and plays Carnegie Hall this fall - I'll be there in NYC and recommend that you hear her whenever she's in your area. She is a soul that is amazingly beautiful as she is musical.


Bob Tanley said...

I am a music-lover of many years, and have heard great performances of Serkin, Horowitz, and Fleisher, to name a few. I thank you for your wonderful post, as I was also privileged to attend Anna Polonsky's impossibly inspiring performance at Mt. Gretna. I believe that her performance of Schumann's Intermezzi stands out as the greatest Schumann playing that I have ever heard. She invests every note with complete attention and care, poetry, and -- dare I say? -- love. The Shostakovich was exquisite, and the Mozart glowed from somewhere deep within. She is destined to change the lives of many, I am certain. How can one keep abreast of her upcoming performances, including venue and repertoire, I wonder?
Thank you again for your post!
-- Bob Tanley

Anonymous said...

To Bob Tanley: