Aledander Tselyakov and the WSO String Quintet

Audience as a Critic - Audience as a Critic

The Audience as Critic
Saturday, December 5 and Sunday, December 6, 2015

Alexander Tselyakov, piano

WSO String Quintet
Gwen Hoebig, Karl Stobbe, violins
Dan Scholz, viola
Leana Rutt, cello
Meredith Johnson, bass

Johann Nepomuk Hummel
Piano Quintet in E flat minor, Op. 87

Frédéric Chopin
Ballade No,. 4 in F minor, Op. 52
Barcarolle in F sharp makor, Op. 60
Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21 (Chamber Version)

Young Artist Program
Natalie Dawe, cello
Edmund Dawe, piano
Piotr Iliych Tchaikovsky
Sentimental Waltz No. 6, Op. 51

Allison Phipps, soprano
Geneva Halverson, soprano
Renate Rossol, piano
Giocchino Rossini
“La Regata Veneziana” (The Venetian Regatta)

Comments from Saturday, December 5th :

Excellent. (DW)

This concert was a real gem! (Anon)

Just an observation about the monitors. It might not be possible to technically correct, but the video picture is about half a second behind the sound. It makes it unnatural and not satisfying. (JS)

I loved the Hummel piece! It just made so much sense! And the way the performers played it greatly enhanced its delightfulness! Tselyakov’s solo Chopin was excellent. He just has this way of taking us right into the climax of the piece and then bringing us gently back down. Please bring this set of performers back. (Anon)

I loved the playfulness of the Hummel Quintet! And the Chopin! (Anon)

The young cellist was exceptional! (MT)

Great concert! The two screens are distracting. (Anon)

Here are several reviews from Harry’s senior students in his Honours course, Psychology and the Arts:

Student#1: Overall, I had a fantastic time at the concert. On my “like-o-meter” scale, I would rate it 9/10. I have never listened to Chopin before, but I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I especially liked the small, intimate nature of the concert room, and how it didn’t matter where you sat because you could see everything really well. Additionally, I really enjoyed how they had 2 large TVs that showed Mr.Tselyakov’s hands so you could appreciate how talented he is. Being able to see the performers in person created a completely different feel than sitting in your room listening to it on a CD. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing them so emotionally connected with the music. Therefore, all in all, the whole concert experience was something I have never experienced before and I would definitely recommend it to everyone, young and old. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to be a part of it.

Student #2: The performance was absolutely magnificent! I have never heard anything quite like it. I have been to a lot of concerts (typically rock, metal, or folk) but never have listened to really good classical music. Makes me think I might go see some more! I think I experienced every range of emotion during that concert, which was also a new experience. I am used to feeling one narrow range of emotion during a concert. I felt everything from joy, glee and awe, to deep sadness, grief and even frustration. The music was so provocative and emotionally charged; really unlike anything I had seen or heard before. The pianist was incredible, I knew that I was witnessing virtuosity and talent in this moment, and it got me wondering if he had put in his 10,000 hours to reach the level he was at. I also wondered what emotions the pianist experienced as well, did he feel the same emotions that the emotions projected? Does he find the experience as hard work, or is it purely enjoyable for him and thus effortless. My favourite was the last piece, a wide range of emotion was felt and experienced. The music was perfect, a beautiful work of symmetry and masterful time and a coalition of awe inspiring sounds. The way the pianist’s hands glided over the keys, it was as if his hands were dancing as he played, and his face was one of intense focus. The way his hands moved, with such speed and grace left me dumbfounded. The music ranged from a tempest of harsh emotions, to soft soothing melodies, which made the entire experience quite enigmatic. The pre-concert young artist was amazing as well; I had never heard the cello played before. The sound cuts deep, as if right into my heart, I was taken aback by how profound the sound was – how, through a single instrument, I could be questioning everything. The music has left me thinking many different thoughts and definitely improved my idea generation. All in all a very pleasant experience, one I hope to do again some time.

Student #3: I thoroughly enjoyed the Virtuosi Concert on Saturday night. Sadly, had the tickets not been provided I probably would not have made the effort to go see classical music live. The sheer talent of everyone blew me away on stage. Prior to this performance I had never seen a professional concert pianist in action. I loved that there were TV screens showing Alexander Tselyakov’s hands jumping effortlessly across the keys; it added another dimension to the performance. As a first-time audience member, I liked that it was a more intimate setting. I enjoyed it when Alexander gave us some background into the piece that he was about to play as well as emphasizing his personal love for Chopin. The pre-concert performance was beautiful, with the father playing the piano and his daughter accompanying him on the cello. There is something special about watching family perform together. Their performances made me wish my family and I were more musical.
I thought the performances were outstanding. However, I know so little about classical music I’m unable articulate much on the different pieces that were played. Attending a concert as a part of our Psycarts course helped bring the course to life. Although I don’t know much about classical music, I kept thinking about different sections of Sacks’ book (Musicophilia) while I was listening. Several times throughout the performance I felt the urge to stand up and move, as if sitting and listening to the music was an inappropriate response. It gave me a better understanding of how the fluidity I was hearing could help a Parkinson’s patient move, or keep someone with dementia focused. Thank you again for the tickets!

Student #4: I enjoyed the opening act with the cello. The quartet, particularly Dan Scholz on the viola, was wonderfully harmonious with the violin and the two other larger stringed instruments. It was interesting to listen to Tselyakov perform Chopin works that weren’t part of the Nocturnes. I think I noticed some elements of mazurkas and polonaise in his performance of the concerto.

Comments from Sunday, December 6:

Phenomenal! I especially loved the Chopin Piano Concerto. How can you rave enough about Tselyakov’s playing and the exceptional string group? So happy that Meredith Johnson, who was wonderful, could play as part of such a group. Fantastic concerts every time I come – the most enjoyable concerts I have ever had the chance to attend. (Anon)

An exceptional concert experience- my first in this beautiful hall. The acoustics were fantastic, and the artists incredible. I loved the young artists as well as Mr. Tselyakov, whose sensitivity plus technical prowess on the piano was gripping. (TV).

Fabulous artists and a very enjoyable afternoon. (SM)
Amazing program – amazing artists! It’s a privilege to be here. (LP).

Excellent concert. (MH)

Great!! (Anon)

Once again, a fine concert. (BE)

I enjoy all the concerts. They are well run, and the standard is always high. Having young people perform before the concert is also a great opportunity for them. (AG)

Spectacular concert! So glad we could hear such fabulous playing! Please have more Russian artists. (AO)

This was my 1st time. It was amazing. I love the way the musicians communicate with each other. Team work. Thank you for letting me be a part of this magic. (TV)

Thoroughly enjoyable. Loved the three gals singing the boat race song. Main concert was boffo!! (MU)

Alexander played with real clarity and insightfulness. The stringed instruments played melodically and in harmony. (CH)

Delighted to hear the Chopin Concerto at last! Third time lucky. Screens dark for second half. Also, more account should be taken of the piano’s not contending with a full orchestra. Lid partly down? When loud, too loud for quartet. (Anon)

A wonderful, intimate setting for a glorious concert. Phenomenal artistry/technique from Alexander. Lovely programming. A delight! (ES)

This person chose to critique the three previous concerts: New Zealand String Quartet: LOVED this concert; beautiful programme; excellent musicians. I liked that they stood – much more dynamic and audience-engaging. And the women wore such lovely outfits – after all, it is a performance! Dover Quartet concert just o.k. Hermitage Trio: Pianist Ilya Kazantsev was spectacular. Anon
(Compiled by Jeremy Strub)