United States Tchaikovsky, Vivaldi: Vadim Gluzman (violin), Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Carnegie Hall, New York City, 25.1.2020, (DS)
Tchaikovsky (arr. Jessie Montgomery and Jannina Norpoth) – The Seasons
Vivaldi – The Four Seasons
In their most recent concert at Carnegie Hall, the New York City-based Orpheus Chamber Orchestra invited Vadim Gluzman to perform Vivaldi’s Four Seasons – perhaps the most universally loved (or, at least, liked) of all classical repertoire. It would be worth taking a count of the number of times the work has appeared in concert halls—as well as piped through offices, elevators, and art studio classes across the country. (The data could be overwhelming!) This rampant proliferation can lend stress to an artist who wants to explore, and offer the audience a new interpretation.
Gluzman was no exception. To make his version stand out from others, he chose to add embellishments throughout all the solo parts. While some succeeded by enhancing with a flourish of punctuating detail, other additions felt rushed to squeeze between beats. The violinist also led the Orpheus players through a variety of tempos that created great contrasts, from extreme speed to taffy-like stretching of slower sections. To watch the experiments conducted by a virtuoso instrumentalist was in itself an exhilarating endeavor, worthy of attendance. But quirks aside, the experience still made an exciting listen, doing justice to an unshakable masterpiece.
On the other end of the spectrum, the ensemble performed a relative rarity, The Seasons by Tchaikovsky. Originally written as small character pieces for piano, the work was exquisitely arranged for chamber orchestra by Jessie Montgomery and Jannina Norpoth. Each movement is titled after a different month (that’s right, not season) and quite succinctly captures the feeling of each, just as one would expect of Tchaikovsky’s dramatically poetic style. The oboe part was particularly well-played by Noah Kay. And the whole orchestra struck a perfect balance of ensemble, interpretation, and smoothly executed technique that blended beautifully. Simply ‘loving to play together’ is their signature.