You Must Hear This
24 Feb 2011
Inside the Classics

I really do try to avoid flogging our weekly concerts in this space, and I know this is two weeks in a row, but I promise you this is for your own good. If you live in the Cities, you’ve got one more chance to hear this week’s program, and if you’re in the New York area, you can catch it next Monday night at the corner of West 57th and 7th. Believe me, this is one for the ages.

No, not because of us! I’m not that vain. I mean, sure, Osmo, Sibelius, “greatest orchestra in the blahhh,” and we’re having a fine old time with the sixth and seventh symphonies. But this is Lisa Batiashvili’s concert, and she’s been holding every member of the orchestra spellbound this entire week with a Beethoven violin concerto that is so good, so utterly polished and personal and committed, that it seems unreal, like something the world’s violin jocks saw in a dream once.

I waited until the reviews were out to write about it, just because I was curious to see if what we’re hearing on stage translates to the house, and it clearly does. And I’m not kidding about the effect Lisa’s had on those of us in the orchestra. Our rehearsals, particularly with Osmo, are usually pretty raucous affairs, with a lot of little sub-conferences going on simultaneously in multiple sections of the band. But Lisa’s command, not only of the solo part to one of the most technically and musically challenging concertos ever written, but also of the orchestral accompaniment and her exact vision for how it needs to be played, were so striking that we basically all just sat back in awe and waited for her next instruction.

The result is a performance so staggeringly beautiful that I don’t have words for it. As we left the stage at intermission last night, violinist Cathy Schubilske smiled, shook her head and joked, “I mean, I don’t know, maybe I should just go get a job as a roofer?” Musicians who ordinarily give our soloists a wide berth have been making a point of charging to Lisa’s dressing room to congratulate her. Another of our violinists, Rebecca Corruccini, summed it up backstage after this morning’s edition of the concerto: “It’s the perfect Beethoven,” she said wistfully. “And I didn’t think that was even possible.”

Clearly, you need a ticket. Or if you’ve been foolish enough to settle somewhere other than Minnesota or New York, you need to set aside an hour of your Friday night to tune in the live broadcast on Minnesota Public Radio (it’s KSJN 99.5fm in the Cities, but they’ve got a pretty high-quality live stream as well.) Concert starts at 8pm (that’s CENTRAL time, Coasties!) Be there.

This is in German, and it’s Sibelius, not Beethoven, but you’ll get the idea.

<February 2020>

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