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Review: Midori and Ozgur Aydin at Bass Hall

Posted 7:20am on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013

An artist as well known as Midori can count on top billing in a partnership with just about any pianist, who’s generally relegated to the position of “accompanist,” as if the piano were of lesser importance than the violin.

But Tuesday night’s Cliburn at the Bass program demonstrated Midori’s integrity as an artist. Teaming with Turkish-American pianist Ozgur Aydin, she (and he) presented a program that was the product of a true partnership, with each taking due regard of the needs of the other as well as the wishes of the composers involved.

Both Aydin and Midori are formidable artists, and the first piece on their program gave notice of a partnership soon to be obvious.

In fact, Mozart’s Sonata for Violin and Piano in F, K. 377, was originally billed, according to the program notes of Eric Bromberger, as a sonata “for the Harpsichord, or Pianoforte with the accompaniment of a Violin.” In other words, it’s the violinist who’s to be the accompanist.

But taking note of the music Mozart wrote, rather than the billing, it’s clear that the two players are equally important. It so happens that the piano is the lead-off instrument in all three movements, but the violin has much to say throughout.

And Midori and Aydin said it well, with a patrician performance in which lovely, accurate sounds from the violin and well-judged emphasis from the piano produced a top-flight musical essay.

The second work on the program, Ernest Bloch’s Sonata No. 2 ( Poeme Mystique), was just as impressive as a demonstration of musical teamwork. Midori’s playing was especially noteworthy in some stratospherically high notes beautifully produced, and Aydin found much drama in the sonata, while both created haunting passages and a sense of mystery.

Bloch is one of those composers, like Paul Hindemith later in the program, who was noteworthy in mid-20th century but whose reputation and performances have declined.

This is especially painful and surprising in the case of Bloch, who wrote much beautiful music, such as the Poeme Mystique. A masterpiece such as his Schelomo for cello and orchestra is a real rarity nowadays.

A deadline took me out of the hall early — and reluctantly, in view of the caliber of the artists involved and the few opportunities to hear the music played. This included Hindemith’s Violin Sonata in E, Faure’s Violin Sonata No. 1 and Schubert’s Rondo Brilliant.

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