You know how you sometimes meet interesting people at a concert? Well, sitting next to me at the NSO Gala was a young Australian scientist and amateur violinist who made it a point to attend a concert wherever he was in the world. He’d seen Daniil Trifonov was to play the Rachmaninoff Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, and bought himself a ticket. “Is this a thing with American orchestras,” he asked me, “where all the women on stage are dressed in bright colors?” I explained that this was the season opening gala concert, and that no, everybody was usually in sober black for the rest of the year.
When Daniil Trifonov played the Rachmaninoff from memory, it was as if his soul and body were directly connected to the music and it just poured out of him—the easiest thing in the world. His performance—although that’s not the right word: it was more a heart-to-heart sharing of what was in his deepest being—was by turns exciting, uber romantic and devilishly difficult. It felt like he was channeling Paganini, that legendary virtuoso who made the ladies swoon.
Afterwards, my seat neighbor and I jumped to our feet and turned to each other in excitement. “Stunning,” we both exclaimed.
And then there was the Richard Strauss Suite from Der Rosenkavalier. I heard an interview where Gianandrea Noseda said he had long arms, and that helped with conducting graceful lines in the music. With the Suite’s succession of lush waltzes Maestro Noseda was in his element, swooping like a premier danseur in Swan Lake. He wasn’t alone: during rehearsal, I saw Kennedy Center Composer-in-Residence Carlos Simon actually waltzing down the Concert Hall aisle on his way to talk to us about This Land, a lovely meditation on the American melting pot.
Can’t wait to share with you all the glitzy, glamorous, formidable music and personalities Wednesday morning at 11AM ET on WETA Classical..
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