February 21st, 2008

lego me

Get some culture

It's pro forma for a concert announcement to tout a soloist as a towering, reclusive figure with a long list of exotic accomplishments. Natalia Gutman is the real thing. Do yourself a favor and get out to see the new Boston Philharmonic concert for its final two performances on Saturday and Sunday. Gutman inhabits Shostakovich's Cello Concerto No. 1 unlike any other soloist I have ever heard. The piece itself is a commentary on the brutal post-Stalinist period and is notable for its frenetic cello madly evading the pursuing orchestra. It's a semi-modernist piece with a strong classical background and shocking (but still musical) departures into the 20th century.

If you go, be sure to make Zander's pre-concert talk for a more rewarding experience. With his trademark enthusiasm, he will explain the history of the piece and the important musical cues to listen for.