Within 48 hours, high-level music-making was heard in vastly different venues.
Louise Davies Hall with its golden hue of lights and balconies provided a stunning backdrop for Daniil Trifonov’s heart-throbbing performance of Chopin’s Concerto No. 2 under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas.
Respighi’s Roman Festivals that concluded the concert, pierced the sound barrier in percussive outbursts, while the featured pianist, to the contrary, had taken explicit care to melt his lyrical phrases with a pervasive singing tone.
Following his mellifluous Chopin, Trifonov rippled through an encore demonstrating his unconstrained virtuosity.
As if this was not enough of a musical banquet, I found myself the following day, at an opposite polarity when I encountered a Chinese harpist at the BART Powell station.
According to the player, the instrument is notably ancient:
“The Guzheng musical instrument originated during the Warring states period (475—211B.C) in China and its tones sound like high mountain waves and continuous water flowing. It has been played over 2500 years.”
The harpist’s supple wrist was as graceful as Trifonov’s fluid approach to the pianoforte and to be sure, both understood the singing tone and how to produce it.
I noted the Chinese musician’s Internet Channel and her charming rendition of a song about a horse which simultaneously evoked a duet that Lang Lang had performed with his father, mid-point in the pianist’s Carnegie Hall debut recital. These offered a nice comparison of instrumental timbres.
Here’s Lang Lang and his dad playing “Competing Horses” which displays an ancient Chinese string instrument known as the erhu.
Without doubt China has a rich and diverse culture of musical expression that takes many ancient and modern instrumental forms.
Finally, it was a pleasure to experience a street musician and one inhabiting a concert hall in the course of two well spent journeys to San Francisco.