Headed to Hilary Hahn’s Bach Party on a block in the West Village at LPR, where I saw Alex Ross for the first time. He is way hipper looking than I imagined. The door girl asked for his name, and when she scanned her list to see if he was on there, I thought, Are you kidding me? But it turned out she was trying to play it cool. I told her she did a damn good job because I sure as hell thought she didn’t know who he was.
We hung out in the standing room as Ms. Hahn made a casual introduction and then proceeded to perform
‘something short,’ as she said: the Ciaccona from the Partita in D minor. It was pretty much flawless, but what I loved the most was how thoughtful and engaging it was; intense moments were almost palpable. Following this performance was an arrangement of the second movement from the G minor flute sonata, accompanied by Orion Weiss, who studied with the same teacher Rach and I had, Miyoko Lotto. (What up!) Weiss had the una corda down the entire time and released it partially for bigger dynamics, and used an inaudible amount of pedal, which made for a dry, small sound. I wasn’t feeling the una corda at the beginning, which started out rather cold, but Weiss opened up by the second variation and made the music more alive…then that u.c. made more sense, an actual intimate character. Weiss also had some lovely ideas and crystal-clean ar-tic-u-la-tion.
Afterward Fred Sherry played some arrangements of Bach Cantatas with Michael Nicholas. Sherry arranged them himself, and one of the most delightful moment from the concert happened when he flubbed a part, simply stopped, and said something to the degree of, ‘Oops! I messed up my own arrangement! Sorry, my fault!’ and got a laugh from the audience. Loved it. (I’m pulling that move next time that happens to me. Hopefully I also get it right the second time.)
Then there was a point of transition to an artist talk, where the performers sat in a row on stage. That was our cue to leave…what more was there to talk about really? Isn’t this a party of some sort? When do we party? I would have preferred to talk to Hilary after the show and photograph her in her sexy dress. I also just don’t dig artist talks. Artist talks are a tricky thing; they either get really academic or just plain boring. This isn’t always the case, but it seems performers have talk because they’re worried that lay people just won’t get it unless given some sort of explanation, giving a classical concert an educational twist rather than an entertaining one.
I didn’t stick around to find out if this was one of those talks. I was worried that I’d be missing more Hilary, but I really needed a burger. Luckily, as it turns out, I left at the right time. Baching finished.
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