Kancheli's 'Lonesome' Pairs Up Nicely With Kremer & BSO

Friday, April 29, 2005

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's Wednesday evening program at the Music Center at Strathmore may have been billed as a pre-Carnegie Hall concert, but it was in no way a dress rehearsal for an imminent performance at the legendary New York venue. On the contrary, the BSO presented a concert full of immaculately polished music.

Violinist Gidon Kremer joined the orchestra for the local premiere of Giya Kancheli's "Lonesome -- 2 Great Slava from 2 GKs," composed in 2002.

The eight-minute work offers vignettes of moods, ranging from pensive to romantic to dolorous, interspersed with silences. Kremer's sweet tone captivated these shifting feelings as BSO Music Director Yuri Temirkanov led his musicians through the creation of textures and sound effects, making dynamic sense out of the pauses and spurring on dramatic exclamations of the music.

In Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No. 1 in A Minor, Op. 99, Temirkanov maintained such a conscientious balance between soloist and orchestra that Kremer could play at any dynamic level without worrying about the BSO encroaching upon his prominence. But the maestro permitted the Passacaglia's melodies to become beautifully intertwined between violinist and orchestra. If the performers' overall interpretations sometimes seemed too nice -- the Scherzo more humorous than sarcastic, the Allegro more gallant than savage, the cadenza more methodical than vainglorious -- they were certainly refreshing explications.

The BSO concluded its program evocatively with a glinting, majestic performance of Debussy's "La Mer" and a coy, diabolical one of Ravel's "La Valse."

-- Grace Jean

© 2005 The Washington Post Company