21 05 2015 - Nikos Zompolas

Philadelphia Orchestra, Nezet-Seguin & Lisa Batiashvili

Philharmonie Luxembourg 21.05.2015 20:00, Grand Auditorium

The Philadelphia Orchestra Yannick Nézet-Séguin direction Lisa Batiashvili violon

Nico Muhly: Mixed Messages

Dmitri Chostakovitch: Concerto pour violon et orchestre N° 1

Sergueï Rachmaninov: Symphonie N° 3 Bis / Zugabe(n) Sergueï Rachmaninov: Vocalise op. 34/14b


There isn’t a lot to note down about the two pieces of the great Russian composers. Simply each time I listen to Shostakovich music -the same applies to my favorite Prokofiev - I realize how angry they made Andrei Zhdanov, the Soviet bureaucrat who accused them for writing inappropriate and formalist music and demanded Soviet composers to write only music for the masses. Russia living for many decades under this horrible regime suffered many damages. But Russia is undoubtedly part of Europe. Look at the remarkable contribution of the Russians to the arts at the beginning of the 20th century, in particular to music, literature and painting. The isolation of Russia is harmful for both Europe and Russia.

Back to music! Yannick Nézet-Séguin, the 40-year-old French Canadian music director of Philadelphia orchestra, is inspired and enthusiastic indeed. The programme was fantastic and so were the orchestra and the collaboration with the charming Georgian-German violinist Lisa Batiashvili, Musical America’s 2015 Instrumentalist of the Year.

The Mixed Messages was performed in Luxembourg one week after its premiere in Philadelphia. Mixed Messages is Nico Muhly’s second commission for the Philadelphia Orchestra. In this work, he seamlessly and dreamily masters the rhythm in a contemporary classical music that captures the audience for not less than fifteen minutes. Muhly retains the regular pulse but the rhythms themselves are irregular and asymmetrical. Contrasting ideas emerge in seeming random order from the different instrumental families. The piece reminds patterns of Philippe Glass and John Adams. Pitchfork calls Nico Muhly an indie-classical composer. His style derives from the minimalistic style of other American contemporary composers such as John Adams, Philip Glass, Steve Reich and Terry Riley. Nevertheless, he has built his own original style, inspiring genuinely from Pierre Boulez to James Blake and Beyoncé.