Monday, October 19, 2009

Review of Midori's performance at Beijing Concert Hall

Now up on the Beijinger blog:

Approaching her 38th birthday, Midori is no longer the precocious child who performed with the New York Philharmonic at age 11, in front of President Ronald Reagan at 12, made her first recording (of Bach and Vivaldi) at 14 and delivered a 100-minute recital at Carnegie Hall four days before her 19th birthday. There is a difference between watching a child, however professional, navigate the minefield of a terribly difficult composition and a mature musician do the same; more is expected of the latter, and yet less seems at stake. The failures of adults are so much less keenly felt.

But make no mistake: even if Midori has ceded some of her spotlight to younger musicians, she has not lost the ability to keep audiences rapt when the lights are on her. On Friday, she expertly navigated Sibelius's roiling arpeggios, glissandi and multiple octave double stops on her way to a flawless rendition...

Funny story about the eight-word quote, "I'm going to play Kreisler, Recitativo and Scherzo": I brought a digital recorder and taped Midori's playing for the sole purpose of catching her words on the off-chance she said anything, but when the critical moment came, I was so far away -- and the tape recorder was on the ground -- that the sound quality was quite bad. At home, I could barely make out what she said. I literally spent an hour Googling terms like "mezzantino" and "mestizo," "wager" and "chrysler" and "krizer," "mezzetta music term" and "mezzan tival" and "classical music ragner scherzo" ("scherzo" was the easiest to get). You musicians, feel free to make fun of me here. I was ready to give up on two occasions. And then, at the one-hour mark, I typed -- quotation marks included --

"and scherz

At the exact moment I imputed the Z of scherzo, Google's auto-search suggested "kreisler recitativo and scherzo." And sure enough... bingo.

For those keeping track at home, Microsoft Bing: 0; Google: a lot

No comments: