Published since 2009
Phil Woolever thinks music is one of the few things humans can do as well as other animals.
Leonard Bernstein's "Candide Overture" shimmered like the surface of Lake Geneva. The key performers showed such a delicate touch that if a pin had dropped, it would surely have echoed in the ears of the audience. When the two stars sat side by side on Lang Lang's seat for a crystal clear "Mother Goose Suite" by Maurice Ravel, it was clear that the pairing, promoted by Nobs after he heard an improvised jam at the 2008 Grammy Awards, was inspired.
The duo delivered an incredible performance of George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," in which familiar territory was revamped into a visit to an uncharted planet. The finale of Liszt's "Hungarian Rhapsody, No. 2" inspired looks of silent awe from the rapt audience. The concert may not have turned form on its ear, but it did bring new clarity to well-tread ground.
Minor misalignments between polished ivories and orchestral soloists aside, the concert was thoroughly enjoyable and presented in an optimal acoustic environment. As opposed to often obligatory crowd responses, the standing ovation seemed sincerely rendered.
"This is the highlight of highs, as good as it gets," proclaimed Quincy Jones to the adoring audience. "Except for 'We Are the World,' this is the most important global event I can think of being involved with."
Strong praise from a strong source indeed. In terms of classical music, that was exactly what Lang Lang and Hancock offered in rare form.
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