Friday, October 29, 2010

Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra – Edo de Waart, conductor; Chen Sa, piano. October 29, 2010.

Hong Kong City Hall Concert Hall, Front Stalls (Seat L27, HK$320).

Program – All Schumann (1810-1856)
Manfred: Overture, Op. 115
Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54
Symphony No. 4 in D minor, Op. 120 (First Version 1841)

We went with the Laws to this concert. We had dinner at the City Hall Restaurant (run by Maxim); surprisingly inexpensive, and surprisingly bland.

I am still amazed at how small the City Hall Concert Hall is, it has about 30 rows in the main section. The seats are reasonably comfortable though.

Hong Kong was called a “cultural desert” when I was growing up, by the number of empty seats in the hall today (by my estimation nearly 25% of seats were empty) the name still applies. This program will be repeated on Saturday, let’s hope the weekend brings in more people.

Overall this is a satisfying concert. I am not a fan of Schumann, and am not familiar with his music. It is generally quite romantic in sound, and the proximity of our seats to the stage made it sound quite intimate also.

The piano concerto begins with a soft introduction by the clarinet (or was it the oboe, I don’t remember). It was so tentative that I thought it was a cell phone ringing. The theme sounded very familiar, and most of the time the interplay between the soloist and the orchestra was good. Every now and then they seemed to be off doing their own thing, though. The three movements are (i) Allegro affettuoso; (ii) Intermezzo (Andantino grazioso); and (iii) Allegro vivace. The Program kept saying this concerto isn't a virtuoso piece, but it sounded virtuoso enough.

The pianist is from China, has taken fourth place in many competitions, and has played with many well-known orchestras (mostly in the US). She played a very romantic piece by Schumann while he was courting Clara. (From what I could tell.)

The Symphony was relatively short at an advertised 26 minutes (I think it was shorter than that.) The four movements are (i) Andante con moto; (ii) Romanza (Andante); (iii) Scherzo (Presto) – Trio; and (iv) Finale (Allegro vivace). They were played without pause. The first three movements were relatively short, and the last longer than expected. It was generally performed with spirit, although the fast passages sometimes felt a little rushed.

Generally a pleasant concert. Anne had trouble with her jet lag and busy few days, even the candy bought during intermission didn’t help her to stay fully awake.

We caught the #75 bus right next to City Hall back to the hotel; it didn’t take long at all.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

New York Philharmonic – Alan Gilbert, conductor; Pinchas Zukerman, violin. October 16, 2010.

Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. Orchestra 3 Center (Seat HH103, $60).

Passacaglia, Op. 1 (1908) by Webern (1883-1945).
Concerto in D manor for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 77 (1878-79) by Brhams (1833-97)
Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98 (1884-85) by Brahms.

It was interesting (to me) how I got to go to this concert. Anne and I had booked tickets to this as part of a “pick your own” series, but we exchanged the tickets for another concert since Anne was going to go to Los Angeles. I didn’t note down – and thus forgot – that the Yangs also had tickets to this event but was reminded that morning. Since I was looking for something to do, I decided to head up to NYC in the early afternoon to see if reasonably priced tickets were available. (A bit foolhardy on my part since there were only about 50 left that morning per When I got to Lincoln Center, I found out only tickets in the $100 and higher range were available, and I didn’t feel like paying that much. I decided to wait for the Yangs - did quite a bit of reading in the Rubinstein Atrium, had dinner with them (at Ollie’s), and then see if anyone was selling tickets at the last minute. Surprisingly, not too many. At about 7:40pm this gentleman offered two tickets for sale, he would part with one for $75, but accepted my offer of $60. The seat is quite good, and the ticket price says 0 (probably a comp). Turns out he sold the other one for $40; oh well …

Webern was Schoenberg’s other famous student and an important member of the Second Viennese School. Anne and I heard Berg’s Lyric Suite selections a few days ago, played by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and I found it okay but not memorable. This particular composition by Webern (his Op. 1) was composed while he was still a student, and follows the “passacaglia” format (per Gilbert, a baroque musical form with a bass-line theme spun into different variations.) For the Webern piece there are 23 variations plus a coda. While I found the theme in and of itself rather uninspiring, at least I could follow (most of) the variations. In this instance Webern is more tonal than Berg, though not by much.

Zukerman was a major reason why I wanted to go to this concert. Overall it was a good performance, but not quite up to my expectations. At first there was this broken bow hair that seemed to bother Zukerman quite a bit, and the initial violin part was quite long so he couldn’t yank it out for a while. But he had quite a bit of intonation problem; could it be playing both the violin and the viola can cause some “muscle memory” problems? And the violin sounded out of tune (indeed he tuned it again after the first movement.) Most puzzling was the orchestra (especially the brass and woodwind) seemed to be tuned to a different pitch. Perhaps my hearing is deteriorating, in which case I shouldn’t be able to tell.

One pleasant surprise was I could distinctly hear the violin part for most of the performance. Perhaps it was the location of my seat, or it was the solo violin. The violin Zukerman plays is a Guarnerius and has a timbre very different from a Stradivarius. Warm and full rather than brilliant and soaring, usually considered more suitable for chamber music but worked very well in this instance.

After the undeserved multiple curtain calls evinced by the enthusiastic audience, Zukerman began playing Brahm’s Lullaby. One kept hoping he would launch into some virtuoso variations on the theme, but it was not to be; he just humored us with the good tone of his instrument and didn’t bother to complete the piece. I found that somewhat disrespectful on his part.

The Brahms Symphony is a familiar one. The beginning melody (descending thirds followed by ascending fifths) is relatively unremarkable as a tune but Brahms somehow managed to mold it into a very interesting movement. Interestingly I am very familiar with the first three movements (Allegro non troppo, Andante moderato, Allegro giocoso) but not so much with the fourth (Allegro energico e passionate – Piu allegro). The last movement is also in passacaglia form although the 32 variations are much richer than Webern’s. Perhaps it is to be expected given the different stages and maturity levels of the two composers? Gilbert was quite expressive in terms of forming the phrases, and in most instances he was successful.

So far this season my experience with the New York Philharmonic by and large has not been exhilarating; let’s hope it improves with additional attendance. The New York Times Review describes Zukerman’s performance as “you never know quite what you will get.”

Orpheus Chamber Orhestra with Garrick Ohlsson, Piano. October 14, 2010.

Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall, Section Parquet Right (Row Y, Seat 14, $25).

Symphony No. 4 in C minor “Tragic” (1816), D. 417 by Schubert (1797-1828).
Three Pieces from Lyric Suite (1926-28) by Alban Berg (1885-1935).
Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58 (1806) by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827).

Just came back from a New York Philharmonic concert, so I thought I better get going with writing down my thoughts on this one from a couple of days ago while I still remember a bit of the performance.

We took up the offer of a 3-concert Orpheus Carnegie Hall series for $25 per ticket. This is the first concert of their season. While I have heard of the Orchestra before, I never paid much attention to it. It is a smallish orchestra (e.g., I counted 6 first violins, 2 basses) and does its work without a conductor. Instead they have a core group of people who would lead different pieces. The members seem very democratic about their seating – the violinist who led the first piece was sitting in the back of the second violin section during a subsequent piece. It is clear the first violin chair leads the whole thing as his/her gestures would be very pronounced. Tonight's concert was quite well attended.

Schubert wrote his fourth symphony when he was 19, and it sounded very mature. The four movements of the piece are (i) Adagio molto – Allegro vivace; (ii) Andante; (iii) Menuetto, Allegro vivace – Trio; and (iv) Allegro. He died young, and one wonders how things would otherwise be if he had had a longer life. The piece is quite nice, but the word “tragic” probably won’t come to the listener’s mind the way it was placed tonight. I found it generally quite positive. This may well be the result of listening to Mahler’s Tragic Symphony not too long ago. The sound of the orchestra was quite muffled, which was quite unexpected given this was Carnegie Hall. I also found the volume dynamic range to be a bit limited (a similar complaint with the 10/3 Dudamel Vienna Philharmonic Performance), which is again a pity. Could this be the result of not having a conductor to encourage the players along?

The program indicated an Intermission after the symphony, so we went out to the hallway so Anne could gobble down some food. Before we got settled we heard the orchestra’s tuning sounds, turns out it was a “false” intermission. It made more sense as otherwise they would have to bring out the piano in the middle of the second half.

Alban Berg studied under Schoenberg and is part of this “Second Viennese School.” His music however is much more melodic than Schoenberg’s, although no much of it is hummable. The Suite is a set of six movements first wriiten for a quartet, and Berg transcribed three of them (Andante amoroso; Allegro misterioso – Trio estatico; Adagio appassionato) into music for a string orchestra, and that is what we heard tonight. The Program Notes mentioned it was a great musicological event when people found the notes by Berg that explained the music. I found the enthusiasm a bit over the top, but did listen for the stories behind the different movements – the lovers’ first meeting, the first profession of love, and the consummation of the affair. Affairs have remained the same throughout history, but the music that describes them somehow manages to evolve quite drastically over the years.

Overall I find the piece okay, but not memorable. Interestingly I got to listen to Schoenberg’s other famous student Webern on Saturday.

Garrick Ohlsson, the soloist for tonight’s Beethoven Piano Concerto, won the Chopin competition in 1970. Given he grew up in the New York area, and now lives in the Bay Area, it is quite interesting that I haven’t heard him until tonight. When I was wandering the narrow halls of Carnegie Hall during (the real) intermission, I found a picture of him (when he was younger) hung on a wall, right next to one of Joan Sutherland who passed away last week.

Ohlsson certainly did an excellent technical job, intricate phrasing, no missed notes (that I could tell), and seemed to tackle the difficult passages (especially the last movement) with ease. However, the overall effect was not as good as I had hoped. I appreciated how the piano and orchestra worked together, appreciated the melodies, appreciated the brilliance, and other aspects of the performance, but somehow these elements were not strung together into a compelling story. I heard Emmuel Ax play this last year at Lincoln Center, and used phrases like “architectural masterpiece” and “thoroughly enjoyable” to describe that performance. Those words didn’t come to mind tonight. Anne thought it was a great performance, though.

The Playbill (interview with Ohlsson) described the second movement as the orchestra failed attempt to overwhelm the piano. This helped greatly in my appreciation of the movement. The three movements of the concerto are Allegro moderato, Andante con mote, and Rondo (Vivace).

Ohlsson played Chopin’s Waltz No. 18 as an encore. A bit long, but well executed and very enjoyable; his tempo was unbelievably fast.

Overall the concert was a bit disappointing. I guess my default expectation was "high" since I started not really knowing what to expect. The WQXR blogger loved it, though.

Friday, October 08, 2010

New York Philharmonic – Alan Gilbert, conductor; Joshua Bell, violin. October 7, 2010.

Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. First Tier Center (Seat DD109, $65).

Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun (1892-94) by Debussy (1862-1918).
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D minor, Op. 47 (1902-04; rev. 1905) by Sibelius (1865-1957).
Kraft (1983-85) by Magnus Lindberg (b. 1958).

Chen Halevi, Clarinet; Carter Brey, Cello; Magnus Lindberg, Piano; Markus Rhoten, Timpani; Christopher S. Lamb, Percussion; Daniel Druckman, Percussion; Juhani Liimatainen, Electronics; Lou Mannarino, Sound Design

Alan Gilbert’s notes in the Playbill and his short talk before the concert certainly made the concert sound quite interesting. The centerpiece is going to be the Lindberg, a Finn, piece which he composed about 25 years ago. To demonstrate the tradition of Finnish music, Sibelius’s violin concerto is a natural choice. It is quite likely that Lindberg went to the Sibelius conservatory (where else could it be?), so it would be interesting to see how music from that school has changed over the years. To link the Debussy piece to the rest of the program took some imagination, although Gilbert illustrated it quite well with how radical the music actually was by demonstrating the different “amplitudes” (I think he meant chromatic intervals) in the flute, clarinet, cello, and bass segments. And he contrasted this with Wagner’s leitmotifs. In Lindberg’s case the distinctive sounds are made by different beats in different instruments, the interplay between chaos and harmony (my words), and use of musicians staged in different parts of the auditorium and sound projected in different speakers by the sound technician.

The rather lengthy introduction did make Debussy sound more interesting than usual. I must have heard this piece many times before, but somehow never seem to remember it. I would have associated it with Debussy anyway – even without Gilbert’s explanation. He did say he liked the melody in the middle part of the piece; and I couldn’t quite tell which melody he meant.

We have heard Sibelius’s violin concerto many times before (more than I remembered, it turns out, when I checked my prior blogs.) I have written a lot about Sibelius and the violin, and there is no need to repeat here. Suffice it to say the piece can be very moving if played well. My prior “encounters” with Bell hadn’t been the most encouraging: I often remarked on his intonation problems, and wondered why the sound of his Stradivarius didn’t project well. His performance today made me change my mind. The intonation problems were there, but he strung together an excellent interpretation of the concerto. The frustration, the struggle, the bargaining, and the acceptance (stages of grief) were all there. And his violin served him well, the softer passages generally spoke above the orchestra. Bell worked very hard at it: he was sweating quite profusely.

The audience was appreciative. One got the feeling Bell wanted to do an encore but thought better of it as it would detract from the overall arcing (or arching) effect of the concert.

We heard Lindberg’s EXPO and Al largo pieces before. While forgettable, they were both relatively short and bearable. Tonight’s piece was advertised to be 27 minutes long (turned out to me more than 30 minutes, or felt that way) and involved a huge orchestra. Much was written in the news about how Lindberg collected pieces of scrap metal from junkyards to be percussion instruments, and indeed there were scattered pieces of junk on stage and in the concert hall: I saw empty gas cylinders, cogs, rocks, wooden wind chimes, containers of water and a stop sign. There is also a sign in front of the podium saying something like “Sewerage Service” which Gilbert said was just nice to have. Hanging in the ceiling over the middle part of the hall was a huge gong which was lowered during the performance.

Gilbert talked a bit more about this piece, and asked different players to demonstrate the strange sounds they could make from the instruments. Mercifully, when he asked Lindberg if he had anything to say, it was “let’s get on with it.” Lindberg played the piano, the gong and other percussion instruments, and he also made a gurgling sound by blowing air into a container of water through a rubber tube.

It is a complex piece of music, started with a loud chord, and reached 62 (or 72) notes when it got to Bar 4. Also at Bar 169 the conductor had to make chirping sounds (with the aid of a microphone.) The soloists were all dressed in polo shirts, jeans, and sneakers. One’s first guess is this is for the “junkyard” theme; probably, but turns out many of them have to run from the stage to the hall and play percussion. Carter Brey showed his athleticism by jumping from the stage and running to the middle of the auditorium to tap on an empty gas tank. One could hear him teasing the percussionists about how anyone could do their job. Different brass and piccolo players also went into the hall to play certain segments. They managed to do so in their black ties and dresses.

There are microphones placed in front of the various solo instruments (the cello in particular), not for sound amplification but to move them around the concert hall over different speakers. This generated a moving effect which was interesting at times.

If I had bothered to take notes, I am sure I would have a lot to say about other aspects of the composition. Perhaps even a bit about the music itself, how it started complex and ended rather simply. The question is, however, what’s the point? It may be an architecturally interesting piece on many levels, and engages the listeners on many different levels; but as a piece that stirs the soul it fails miserably. And (to borrow a phrase from NY Times) it is not that good that it should last 30 minutes.

I have never seen so many people walk out during the middle of a piece like today. We left right at the conclusion as we had to catch a train home. A concert advertised as lasting 1 ½ hours ended up being 2 ¼ hours long. (One reason is it took 30 minutes to set up the stage for the Lindberg piece.)

The first half of the concert certainly was to my taste. I don’t regret listening to the Lindberg piece, but it is quite unlikely I will go listen to it again. Not quite the "that's 30 minutes of my life I'll never get back," but I am certainly glad Lindberg's appointment as composer-in-residence will end after this year.

The New York Times review came out today (October 8). The reviewer analyzed the Lindberg piece just I suspected people would. He was very positive about it, though.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra – Gustavo Dudamel, Conductor; Yo-Yo Ma, Cello. October 3, 2010.

Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall, Section CB11 (Row O, Seat 21, $78).

Tragic Overture, Op. 81 (1880) by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897).
Cello Concerto in A Minor, Op. 129 (1850) by Robert Schumann (1810-1856).
Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, Op. 95, “From the New World” (1893) by Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904).

We went with the Yangs right after church. Despite the threats of traffic jams from google maps, we made it to NY in good time and managed to grab a sandwich before the concert.

I didn’t realize Vienna Philharmonic had had women artists until this concert. There were a handful of string players scattered in the violin and viola sections, and one the four (!) concertmasters is a woman. All the women (and a few men) players have an asterisk after their names in the roster, denoting their status as “confirmed members of the Vienna State Opera Orchestra who do not yet belong to the association of the Vienna Philharmonic.” Whatever else that may mean, they are still considered a different class of musicians. Perhaps more protests are necessary? The harpist (whose services were not needed in today’s program) is a full member and has the first name of “Charlotte.” So, one of my questions is answered. If there are any male harpists, Vienna Philharmonic would have hired him.

The other interesting thing we saw was a couple of violins and one viola hanging in the sections before the orchestra members marched onto the stage. Initially we thought they were for handicapped members who would not be able to bring them out; turns out everyone walked out unassisted, so our next guess is they are spares in case anyone’s instrument breaks a string during the performance. That happened to me once and I sat there – quite embarrassed – during the rest of the performance. No mishap of that nature happened, so our guess remains a guess.

On to the performance …

The Tragic Overture was relatively long for an overture at 13 minutes. The program notes describes the two Brahms overtures as self-contained symphonic pieces, and that Brahms wasn’t into story-telling. This piece sounded quite flat to me, a reaction I didn’t expect to have, given what is generally said about the conductor, and my own experience listening to him conduct Mahler’s Fifth. So, alas, the concert didn’t get off to a great start.

After the orchestra got reshuffled in preparation for the cello concerto, I noticed the concertmaster remained in his seat. Perhaps they don’t excuse themselves when they are on tour, or only some orchestras have this custom?

I don’t know which of his two cellos Ma was playing, but the instrument sounded very good especially in the high registers. The relatively short concerto (about 25 minutes) has three movements played without pause (Nicht zu schnell – Langsam – Sehr lebhaft) although the demarcations were quite clear cut. Ma clearly enjoyed himself tremendously, especially the parts where there was a dialog between the soloist and the orchestra. There was an episode where he essentially had a duet with the principal cellist that was particularly pleasant. The program notes say there are few places for the soloist to show off, but I thought it was difficult enough, even as Ma made the whole thing look effortless.

I don’t get to see Ma in person very often, but do wonder where his career would go next. After today’s concert, I somehow suspect a conducting appointment may not be too far in the future as he seemed very engaged with the orchestra around him. During the applause (after the piece ended in a flourish and a high note) I told Anne he should go and shake the principal cellist’s hand for the nice duet they did together – and sure enough he jumped over the conductor’s podium to do so. Turns out he shook the cellist’s hand and embraced him many times during the curtain calls, so perhaps they are old friends?

I read somewhere “talent is God’s way of being unfair,” and Ma is an example of it. He wears it very well, though, and always comes across as a likeable guy enjoying sharing his appreciation of music with his audience. In any case, as encore he played the Prelude in Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1, made familiar by a TV ad (for American Express, I think.)

Dvorak’s Ninth Symphony is a familiar piece of music, but not often played in concert – one reason may be there are too many great recordings out there and comparisons are inevitable. At least for simple folk like me. The symphony lasts longer than it sounds (40 plus minutes) and consists of four movements (i) Adagio – Allegro molto; (ii) Largo; (iii) Scherzo: Molto vivace – Poco sostenuto; and (iv) Finale: Allegro con fuoco.

My overall impression of this was: three disappointing movements not quite redeemed by the well-played fourth movement. Again the word “flat” comes to mind. I do have a few specific negative comments, though. Both the brass and woodwind sections figure prominently in the piece, and neither section was that good. The horns in particular sounded unsteady at times. The English Horn, which has a prominent melancholic melody in the second movement, sounded uninspired. For me, however, the greatest regret was the orchestra’s failure to make full use of the excellent acoustics of the auditorium. The dynamic range by-and-large was too compressed, so we didn’t get to hear the quiet whispers that (one hopes) would capture one’s imagination.

Again, with the exception of the last movement during which he was off his feet several times, Dudamel’s conducting was quite subdued. I remain amazed by these leading-the-beat type of conductors; sometimes the interval between his cue and when the orchestra would come in would be so long that I would have jumped in many times. But then I am not a professional.

The applause was enthusiastic. And there was an encore (piece unknown to me.)

On paper this should have been a great concert: Vienna Philharmonic, Yo-Yo Ma, and Gustavo Dudamel. Indeed the number of people outside looking for tickets is the largest I have ever seen. The high expectations set were not met.

Oh, we had to wait a long time to pick up the car (the garage had only one attendant), and there was a bit of a traffic jam leaving the city. Consistent with the theme that things were okay, but could be better.

Today (October 9) I found the New York Times review of the series (with different conductors), and the section on this particular one is rather short. He takes Ma's enthusiastic embrace of the principal cellist Franz Bartolomey as condescension. He also identified the encore as the Waltz from Bernstein's divertimento in which Bartolomey played a major part. Perhaps the practice of principals excusing themselves is a good one as we won't have this sort of perceived competition.

Friday, October 01, 2010

New York Philharmonic – Alan Gilbert, Conductor. September 30, 2010.

Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, First Tier, Seat CC7 ($65.00).

Symphony No. 6 in A minor (1903-05, rev. 1906) by Mahler (1860-1911)

We heard this symphony in June 2005, conducted by Maazel. Looking back on my notes, it was a great performance. I was wondering then how often this symphony gets performed, well, in the case of the New York Philharmonic, four plus years.

Many of the things I observed about the symphony carried over to this one. In fact I am quite impressed with the detail notes I took about that performance, if I may say so myself. Having read both my own notes and the program notes before the concert, I was ready to enjoy this performance, and enjoyed it I did.

The four movements of the symphony are (i) Allegro energico, ma non troppo; (ii) Andante; (iii) Scherzo: Weighty; and (iv) Finale. Allegro moderato – Allegro energico.

A second hearing of any symphony, particularly one by Mahler, isn’t going to make one an expert on the piece. I was wondering whether I wanted to buy a 12-or-so-CD collection of Mahler’s symphonies, this clinched it, I shall do so shortly. In the past 5 or so years (since I started this blog) I have heard Nos. 1, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9, some of them twice, but I have only No. 5 in my iPod – time to fill up the library.

Given the passage of time, it is difficult to compare Gilbert’s performance with that of Maazel’s. Nonetheless, I have to say Gilbert still has a ways to go before he can bring out Mahler the same way Maazel seems able to. The symphony was at some point called “Tragic” and is described by von Karajan as one that ends in complete hopelessness. The ending surely fit the description, but there certainly didn’t seem to be the same degree of desperation and struggle compared to Maazel’s performance. At times Gilbert even appeared a bit too mechanical (and too crisp, believe it or not) in the way the led the orchestra.

Interestingly, the remark I made about the second movement (“the movement could have concluded at this point”) is still valid, in my judgment. Also, Mahler initially had three hammer blows but reduced it to two because he was superstitious. We heard three in this performance, hopefully nothing bad will happen. Actually by the time the third strike was heard the despair was so complete that it felt a bit like an overkill. According to the NY Phil website, “the hammer” was designed for the June 2005 performance. The other big discussion by Gilbert was the order of movements (ii) and (iii). The way it was played tonight was the same as that of 2005, and is the usual order of things in symphonies. I do wonder if the overall experience would be different, though.

In any case, this was an “all hands on deck” production, many instruments doing “doubling” functions, two sets of timpani, two sets of cowbells (one off stage), this famous hammer, and two sets of cymbals. It was inevitable that a stray note would occur here or there.

A couple of observations I forgot to write down from last concert. One is this new guy who is both a timpanist and a percussionist; he seems to be tuning the timpani drums all the time. The other is the cellist Qiang Tu lost his endowed chair. The chair is still in the program, empty, and he is still there, now a regular player. Wonder what happened.

I was glad I went to this concert, and actually got to compare two performances (not necessarily valid).

(Note added 10/3) Here is the NY Times review. The reviewer evidently knows more about the music than I do; he is quite pleased with the performance.