Think about you’ve simply completed household dinner when your aunt and uncle, maybe beneath peer stress, announce they’ve bought some music to share. With full bellies and fuller hearts, you flip to listen to them spin a lifetime of tales into your loved ones’s personal private live performance.
With near 1,000 patrons in attendance, Monday’s Stanford Reside live performance, that includes celebrated cellist Yo-Yo Ma and famend pianist Kathryn Stott, may not be described as “private.” But the duo’s heartwarming camaraderie and intelligent programming felt magnetic in the way in which everyone knows music to be: connecting, shifting and human. It was like we’d recognized all of them our lives — like an aunt and uncle.
Ma and Stott impressed not with extreme virtuosity, however with easy steadiness and ensemble (i.e., enjoying in sync). Ma sat virtually immediately behind the piano bench, a place which struck me as unusual because it prevented Stott from seeing him. Visible synchronization is often essential to chamber music, however the two evidently didn’t want it after half a lifetime of performing collectively. If that’s what it takes to attain such a delicate and versatile sound, then we will solely hope to seek out these musical companions for ourselves in our personal lives.
Nevertheless it’s extra than simply their obvious Vulcan mind-meld that makes me attain for the “aunt and uncle” analogy: the 2 actually spoke by their devices. Although they each had sheet music — they’re solely human, in any case — they performed as if pouring organically from their souls.
Ma has a sure manner of constructing you ignore his approach; as my piano trainer as soon as mentioned of Arthur Rubinstein, “his flawed notes sound higher than most individuals’s proper ones.” He doesn’t preach together with his efficiency: he stays on the viewers’s stage, and he pulls the music immediately from our hearts.
All of this was displayed most prominently within the live performance’s first half, which featured over a dozen quick items from the early Romantic to the current day. Lush, vibrant and surprisingly homogeneous, this half was Ma’s wheelhouse. Although the items ranged from outstanding (trendy composer Caroline Shaw’s “Shenandoah”) to unremarkable (Dvorak’s Op. 75, for my part), each one felt intentional. These works epitomize the Romantic richness which is the bread and butter of the live performance corridor, and so they made a beautiful begin to the night.
After a prolonged and chatty intermission, the duo resumed with Stott’s shining half of this system. They started with Erollyn Wallen’s “Dervish,” a chunk which seeks to seize the essence of the Sufi worship dance of the identical title. Although I initially deemed this piece the “hidden spinach within the brownies” of this system, it turned out to be one thing of a palate cleanser.
What adopted was greater than half-hour of enjoyable within the type of South American music, together with works by César Camargo Mariano, Violeta Parra and Astor Piazzolla. Using prolonged concord and syncopated grooves, the tangos have been horny, flashy and clearly the viewers’s favourite. Ma rushed somewhat an excessive amount of for my style, however most string gamers have hassle staying on the again of the beat anyhow.
As is customary, the 2 have been instantly shoved into two encores by a near-universal standing ovation (although they didn’t make any ceremony of it, which I assumed was good). The primary was “Someplace Over the Rainbow,” a lullaby to punctuate the night time and launch the power from the top of this system. The second was “Virtually Like Being in Love,” the award present send-off music that considerably mitigated the effectiveness of the primary encore. Each had the viewers on their ft once more.
Hopefully, you’ll be able to see how this system carefully mirrored the trajectory of a jovial get-together, from classical requirements to barely drunk dance numbers to end-of-night household favorites. I can’t assist however imagine this expertise was intentional: Ma and Stott’s insistence on holding applause between sure items strongly suggests a rigorously pre-planned listening expertise. (The 2 even had containers to rapidly get rid of sheet music in between items.) Even when pressured, I recognize the design that goes right into a set that has one thing for everybody.
As a practising musician, I discover that essentially the most memorable concert events not often rely on their repertoire. Greater than something, we keep in mind how music makes us really feel, and Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott did a superb job at shifting their viewers. They make me marvel how a lot of their lives they’ve spent practising to get their virtuosity and what they’ve skilled to have the ability to discover such emotional musical interpretations. They make music for the viewers, not “at” the viewers.
Ma mentioned in his opening remarks that Stanford is “one in every of our favourite locations on the earth.” For all these not in attendance on Monday, I hope that sentiment brings him again to Bing quickly.
Editor’s Notice: This text is a overview and contains subjective ideas, opinions and critiques.