January 29, 2014

Catchup: Barnatan and Weilerstein

Attended a fine performance last night—Inon Barnatan and Alisa Weilerstein. Came full circle with their last selection—the Rachmaninoff Sonata in G. I’ve loved this piece since I first heard it. Ashkenazay and Harrell provided a public radio “driveway moment.” Christopher O’Reilly and Carter Brey cemented it in my memory with an in-studio performance on Saint Paul Sunday Morning. Now, years later, I finally got to see the piece performed, and I think it was worth the wait. You can hear the music many times, but I think it’s not until you see it performed—the effort the performers make, the slipping cello, the stray hairs from the bow, the beads of sweat, the cues and the byplay between the performers—that you really feel it. The whole while I listened, I was only a row away from my old place next to Marc Moyen who used to glower in dismay, who used to huff his disapproval whenever Rachmaninoff was on the program with “Cocktail Music!” I didn’t agree then, and I don’t agree now.