…if I had been there, I wouldn’t have gotten busted-I hope.
from the NY TIMES
November 3, 2006
The Brahms Sonatas, Wrapped Around a Disruption
By ANTHONY TOMMASINI
Of the three sonatas for violin and piano by Brahms, the last one, in D minor, is by far the stormiest. Returning after a curiously long intermission during their recital at Carnegie Hall on Wednesday night, a program devoted to the complete Brahms sonatas, the violinist Gidon Kremer and the pianist Krystian Zimerman tore into the agitated first movement of the D minor work, taking a bracing tempo and emphasizing its volatile mood swings.
The performers, especially Mr. Zimerman, may have been responding to more than the emotions in the music. When Mr. Zimerman walked out after intermission he looked fiercely angry. Jabbing his finger, he admonished a member of the audience seated in the first row.
Mr. Zimerman said the patron had been recording the recital during the first half, a spokeswoman from Carnegie Hall explained later. The intermission was prolonged because Mr. Zimerman had asked security officers at the hall to find the offender. The man was located, but house policy does not permit a patron to be evicted unless the infraction is observed. So a security officer was stationed nearby to make sure the man did not record anything. For extra measure Mr. Zimerman issued his stern warning.
In any event, whether heightened emotions contributed to the intensity of the music making, the performance of the D minor sonata by these towering musicians was stunning. Mr. Kremer has a built-in sentimentality detector that never fails him. So even when he shaped Brahmsâ€™s melodic phrases with luminous sound and expansive lyricism, his playing was focused, probing and mysterious. Mr. Zimerman played with great expressive freedom, giving phrases ample time to breathe. Yet he too demonstrated piercing intelligence, bringing out intricacies and conveying the inexorable sweep of this rhapsodic sonata.
There was grave beauty in their account of the wistful Adagio movement. They found the gremlins lurking beneath the impish surface of the scherzolike third movement. And the powerful finale, taken at a hellbent tempo, was tempestuous and commanding.
In the first half of the program they played the dreamy Sonata No. 1 in G and the stately Sonata No. 2 in A with misty textures and subdued intensity. Carnegie Hall is too large, ideally, for a violin and piano recital. Rather than exaggerate the music, Mr. Kremer and Mr. Zimerman were true to the intimate character of these works and drew their listeners in. I tend to like a little Bachian clarity in the rippling piano figurations of the melancholic last movement of the first sonata, music so personal you feel as if you are reading the composerâ€™s diary. But it was impossible to resist the milky murmurings of Mr. Zimermanâ€™s elegant playing.
Before offering encores, Mr. Zimerman, from what I could hear, apologized to the audience for the disruption and blamed a patron who was â€œtrying to destroy our concert.â€ With that off his chest, he and Mr. Kremer gave a poetic account of a pensive, short piece by Eugene Ysaye and a sparkling rendition of playful movement from a Mozart sonata. All was peace and light again.