Review - Academy of St. Martin in the Fields

Inon Barnatan, Alisa Weilerstein, Academy of St Martin in the Fields
Winter Park/Maitland Observer

By Louis Roney

On March 16, London’s Academy of St. Martin in the Fields performed the finale of the Bach Festival Guest Artist Series at the Trinity Preparatory School Performing Arts Center.

The outstanding oeuvre of the evening was Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 1 featuring the world-class playing of cellist Alisa Weilerstein who possesses an awe-inspiring technique and immense passion. Every note of every run and trill was crystal clear in the virtuosic passages. As required of Haydn’s style, the grace and beauty of Weilerstein’s well-turned nuances was of consistent intensity. She is an artist of great intellect and musical intelligence.

Not to be outdone by Mme. Weilerstein’s performance, pianist Inon Barnatan performed the Bach Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor BWV 1052 with the clean precision required of Bach’s music. Barnatan delivered a stunning performance and his playing evermore pointed up the differences between the sounds of Bach and Haydn. Also a prodigious artist, Barnatan is one I look forward to hearing on future programs (with Mme. Weilerstein?)

The orchestra of some 26 virtuoso players opened the activities of the evening with Benjamin Britten’s “Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge” Op. 10 – a concoction of interesting musical contrasts. First violin, viola, and cello solo passages contain the opportunity to show individual virtuosity in appropriate realms. (No conductor was present during the entire proceedings.)

The finale was Haydn’s Symphony No. 45 in F sharp minor, the “Farewell Symphony,” a musical joke that always amuses, as players leave the stage until only two are left — a fitting end for the last Guest Artist Series for this season.

Please allow this commentator a special thank you to Trinity Preparatory School for the use of its acoustically excellent hall – what a lovely place to enjoy music! ?What a grand thing it is for the Central Florida public that the Bach Festival Guest Artist Series brings exquisite music performed by the worlds best performers in well-nigh-perfect surroundings.