Monday, March 18, 2013
Half a Stravinsky
My first experience with Stravinsky's Violin Concerto of 1931 was at Juilliard a few years ago, when I was enlisted by Francesca Anderegg to accompany her on a few days' notice. Stravinsky's twisted harmonies and his middle-period polyphony was causing me enough grief at the time that I don't think I appreciated the music fully. It's almost a Bach concerto, deconstructed and rebuilt in a cubist form. Listening to Fran playing the piece again last weekend with the St. Olaf College orchestra (the live recording is archived here), I almost didn't recognize parts of the piece because the solo part was so heavily boosted in the audio mix! Fran has a beautiful, rich tone on her instrument and a steely intellect that brought real clarity and direction to the solo part. With scarcely any backing from the orchestra, it sounded almost like a Romantic aria. It was a wonderful new perspective on the piece for me, and Fran's playing was so engaging I didn't really miss the orchestra that much. Interestingly, the live acoustics in the hall apparently made it hard to hear her, so I might have had the better deal through internet streaming.