Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Eat your Messiaen and like it

Violinist Itzhak Perlman scolds an audience in West Palm Beach, FL, for its tepid response to Messiaen's Theme and Variations, then plays the piece again:

At least as interesting, to me at least, is critic Greg Stepanich's description of the violinist playing with a "tight sound . . . intensely focused but somewhat narrow." For most of his career, Perlman has been likened to Fritz Kreisler in the plummy sweetness of his fiddle sound and his romantic interpretive bent – impressions reinforced by his recordings, even of modern repertory.

I haven't heard him live for a few years. Has he departed from past practice?