Aug 26 2011
Composer Wolfgang Rihm took a bow after the European premiere of his concerto Lichtes Spiel with violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter. The first concert on this tour also featured Anne-Sophie in the familiar Mendelssohn Concerto. Heading back to the hotel on the bus the comments centered on, “How does she do it?,” and “Isn’t it amazing that she can find something new to say in such a familiar piece?”
The Pittsburgh Symphony and Manfred Honeck’s Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5 was for sale in the lobby along with the PSO’s new Mahler Third. Lots of Mutter fans sifted through her many recordings. Principal Second Violinist Jennifer Ross told me she was looking out at a very elegant, dressed-up audience. They politely held their applause until Manfred lowered his arms after the Tchaikovsky Fifth, then asked for two encores. It was a big sound in this 1,400 seat hall.
New Principal Flutist Lorna McGhee played the big solo in the Intermezzo from Bizet’s Carmen, and Principal Clarinetist Michael Rusinek added a lick from the Tchaikovsky Fifth to his solo in the middle of the Galop from Khachaturian’s Masquerade Suite.
Rheingau Festival Intendant Michael Hermann gave warm introductory remarks in German and drew some laughter. Pittsburgh Symphony CEO Larry Tamburri told me he’s glad the tour is underway.
Earlier, I bumped into Principal Cellist Anne Martindale Williams and violinist Christopher Wu as they returned from a rehearsal of the Barber Adagio, planned for ceremonies marking the tenth anniversary of 9/11 in Berlin. Somehow, they wore matching orange outfits since great musicians must always be on the same wavelength.
I loved the Antiquariat Schallplatten vinyl record shop started by Manfred Eisele. He was very friendly, showing off the smallest record, which contains a Gitanes cigarette commercial; the extremely rare Beatles $32,000 “butcher” cover; and even Andre Previn’s A Different Kind of Blues album with Itzhak Perlman, recorded at Heinz Hall.