Sunday's concert at South Mountain was absolutely fabulous. My mind still swirls in recollection of bits and pieces, little bits of melody, soaring emotion.
We heard a trio consisting of Wu Han on the Piano, David Finckel, also of the Emerson Quartet, on cello, and Philip Setzer playing the violin. I have, of course heard Finckel and Setzer playing with the Emerson, and I heard Wu Han as a soloist, but I had not heard Han and Finckel play together, nor had I heard this trio. I was intrigued.
The concert was all Schubert; the Piano trio in B flat Major and the Piano Trio in E flat Major. Have I already said it was marvelous? It was indeed. The music was lush and powerful and filled with emotion. There was an almost visceral quality to the music, subtle perhaps in the B-flat trio which was filled with lush playful melodies. That visceral quality was immediately apparent in E-flat trio which drags you into hell and back; it was in turns brooding, serene, volcanic, angry, and yet touched by solace and perhaps redemption.
Watching and listening to musicians perform is always fascinating. The opportunity to hear musicians whom I usually associate with one group and sound performing outside those boundaries is enlightening. Of course playing as a soloist and a member of an ensemble are tremendously different things; in a group the dynamic of the group play a major role in the music.
This group is totally different than the Emerson; the dynamic is different. The playing is still brilliant, but the musicians seem to be having far more fun, and there is considerable emotional depth to the music. Finckel, whose face is always animated during performance, seems more animated. Han is a dynamo; powerful when power is needed, and yet lilting and precise as well. There is a definite dynamic between Han and Finckel, not surprising I suppose since they are married. They create gorgeous music together. The dialog between Setzer and Finkel seemed magical, the music dancing, a few conspiratorial raised eyebrows, Setzer's feet dancing in their slow smooth slide beneath his chair. I always love watching Setzer's feet during play. Since the Emerson stands during performance, I miss watching his feet. This seemed like a special treat. He moves them around, as I do when I sit. But I fidget because I have a bad back. I don't know that Phillip Setzer has a bad back, but he moves his feet eloquently with the music, and there is an occasional little quiver with the beat or a trill. Sometimes he raises his eyebrows back at David Finckel. The music soars. Heady stuff.
I just found out there is a recording of these concerts. The photo of the album cover is from Finckel and Wu Han's website, from which I will be ordering the recording post-haste.
September Issue, which I saw on Friday, was a disappointment. It was one of the most boring movies I have ever seen. I was in NYC with friends, we talked about going to see the Toledo Exhibit, but unsurprisingly, finding a cab in the rain in NYC is an impossible task and we opted to see the movie instead. Read Carolyn's review, I completely agree and she said it better than I ever could.
Grace Coddington made the movie. And Anna Wintour may be brilliant and powerful but my initial impression of her was that she had absolutely no affect. I was wrong. There was one scene, with her daughter, were a little glimmer of something came through, and of curse the famous pursed lips. But really these things just had me feeling very sorry for her, strange as that may sound.
In a nice bit of serendipity, I happened to watch part of "The Devil Wears Prada!" on Saturday, while I was waiting for a match to begin at the US Open tennis tournament. Meryl Streep nailed the Anna Wintour role except that mean as Meryl was in that movie, she couldn't reproduce the utter blankness of AW's face. There was always just a little too much humor and irony and intelligence peeking out.