Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Concert Review: Alisa Weilerstein, Sergey Khachatryan, Inon Barnatan and Colin Currie at the Folly Theater

While I was tempted by several other noteworthy concerts last Friday, I opted for the auspicious quartet of cellist Alisa Weilerstein, violinist Sergey Khachatryan, pianist Inon Barnatan and percussionist Colin Currie at the Folly Theater upon discovering that almost every seat in the front row was still available a few hours prior to showtime.  The ticket I purchased in Row A provided 130 intimate minutes with the classical music luminaries.

I heard Barnatan’s every inhalation and each dramatic gasp and telling sigh emitted by Weilerstein.  I could also read the sheet music over Barnatan’s shoulder.  Ignoring the 200 people seated behind me in the 1,050-capacity theater allowed me to pretend that the event presented by The Friends of Chamber Music was a private concert intended solely for my benefit. 

Forty-four years after his death, Kansas City still isn’t ready for Dmitri Shostakovich.  An interpretation of the Russian composer’s Symphony No. 15 anchored the program.  Supplemented by two additional percussionists, that ish was lit.  Currie’s solo marimba (!) attack on new music composer Rolf Wallin’s absolutely bonkers Realismos mágicos was the zaniest thing I’ve heard in Kansas City this year. 

I mirrored the mournful expression of MacArthur genius grant recipient Weilerstein during Beethoven’s so-called Ghost trio.  Only Schoenberg’s “Verklarte Nacht” failed to move me.  A critic for The Washington Post felt differently.  The newspaper deemed the ensemble’s concert at the Kennedy Center on the previous night worthy of a review.

I write weekly concert previews for The Kansas City Star.

I reviewed a performance by Havilah Bruders and Paul Shinn at Plastic Sax.

Imagine a mash-up of Nina Simone and Kendrick Lamar.  “Basquiat” is among the songs on Jamila Woods’ Legacy! Legacy! that meet that lofty speculative standard.  I need to spend more time with the album before verifying that  it’s as good as Solange’s When I Get Home, my presumptive album of the year. 

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

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