Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Lipman recital brings wider recognition to star violist, with the bonus of an APA laureate's piano assistance

A combination of well-known music and novelties puts an extra shine on the luster of Matthew Lipman's debut recording on Cedille.  Optimistically titled "Ascent," it has the locally significant enhancement of accompaniments by his duo partner, Henry Kramer, a laureate in the American Pianists Association competition.
Matthew Lipman received a coveted Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2015.

Concert artists playing the viola are relatively rare, and the instrument's central position in the symphony orchestra and string quartet only allows its familiarity to extend so far. As a solo voice, it mimics the cello in its low register and as it ascends, it sounds like a beefier violin."Ascent" is a good name for the recording, and not just because various versions of rising, in spirits, pitch, and movement, bear central significance to the program.

By the time the listener reaches the last tracik, Lipman's arrangement of Franz Waxman's "Carmen Fantasie," there has been ample evidence of the violist's virtuosity, in addition to the solidity of his six-year partnership with Kramer.  The program note deftly indicates the naturalness of the viola in fleshing out this sketchy (but essentially pertinent) portrait of one of the most well-loved mezzo-soprano roles, the Spanish gypsy torn between commitment and freedom. (The range in Spain is plainly the refrain.)

Lipman and Kramer sweep invitingly through the fantasized medley. The "fate" music sounds quite idiomatic on the viola; the penetrating harmonics serve the introduction to the Seguidilla particularly well. Throughout, the viola's character across its wide range is well exploited.

Among the disc's other works are two with special claims to attention: One is a short, slight piece by Dmitri Shostakovich, discovered decades after his death in 1975. Impromptu for Viola and Piano, op. 33, focuses on the most solid part of the viola range.  The conservative material has a couple of harmonic twists that will evoke the composer's better-known work, but the expressive spectrum is conservative and romantic. It's a good encore piece for those rare occasions in which a violist plays a recital or one of the relatively few worthy concertos for the instrument.

A centerpiece of such a recital might well be Robert Schumann's "Marchenbilder," op. 113. These four "fairy tale pictures" (to translate the title) lie at the heart of the composer's familiarity with fantasy, aspects of which are inseparable from the mental illness that killed him. Lipman and Kramer maintain a firm partnership while fully characterizing the pieces — slowing the tempo together at apt points, displaying their rhythmic acuity (in "Lebhaft"), and modulating foreground and background responsibilities in the agile "Rasch."  The finale, with its evocation of folk music, is remarkable for the steadiness with which Lipman enunciates the sotto voce melody.

Composer Clarice Assad
The other notable piece in terms of news value is a Lipman-commissioned work from the Brazilian-American composer Clarice Assad.  "Metamorfose" is programmatic to the degree that its two movements represent a familiar transformation from caterpillar-in-chrysalis to full-fledged butterfly.

The tentative cast and mood of confinement in "Crisalidas" suggests the insect in chrysalis. Tense harmonics come in to hint at the aspirational progress of the butterfly's development, which will burst forth in "Danca das Barboletas." But that's only after a calm, free opening section yields to a rhythmically enlivened, fast shimmer of piano chords and the emergence of viola assertiveness in robust dance that brings forward the vernacular of the composer's homeland effectively.

"Ascent"'s  other work by a living composer is Garth Knox's "Fuga libre," an unaccompanied piece assembled initially from fragments that bear increasing expressive heft. Double stops and more intense figuration enter the picture, along with pizzicato. The freedom implied by the title gradually overcomes the structure, and there's an episode with imitation feedback of the sort popularized on electric guitar by Jimi Hendrix.  As this subsides, there is a more wispy use of fragments before linked repeated figures set up a strong climax.

That kind of expressive freedom remains more within a romantic context in the disc's opening work, Phantasy for Viola and Piano, op. 54, by the English composer York Bowen (1854-1961).  Attractive in many respects, the composition strikes me as too diffuse, but some scattering of inspiration perhaps fulfills the "fantasy" assignment Bowen undertook for a 1918 competition. It was still a distinct treat to become acquainted with a composer previously unknown to me, and the duo acquits itself marvelously well in following every twist and turn of the heart-on-sleeve score with technical and expressive unanimity.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

IRT's 'Diary of Anne Frank': The memorial voice from the annex still sounds its notes of resilience and hope

Diarist Anne exults in her spring awakening.
"The Diary of Anne Frank," besides being a monument to human resilience under monstrous threat, is in its very
title a tribute to the power of words. As full of life as the Amsterdam teenager evidently was before she and her family were rousted out of their hiding place for transportation to the death camps, it's what she left behind on paper that has hewn her path to immortality.

This is the miracle of the document that has given the world the most focused and celebrated account of the Holocaust. As  staged by the Indiana Repertory Theatre, the full humanity of a couple of Jewish families in hiding, joined by a dentist forced to separate from his Christian wife, continues to stand for whatever bulwarks can be erected against obliteration and oblivion.

Those bulwarks are not as strong as most people might like them to be, as the current resurgence of antisemitism makes clear. And what Anne Frank's diary has to say to the living may not be as important as the memorial value of her writing. Life against death is the enduring tension of "The Diary of Anne Frank," especially since the writer's ebullience and idealism are so well embodied in Miranda Troutt's performance, as seen Saturday evening.

The vitality poured into the main role and set against both the perseverance and despair of the hideaway's inhabitants prompts us to endorse everything about Anne Frank, whether it's the ache and confusion of puberty or the passion to learn and forge realizable dreams about an imagined future life. Janet Allen directs a production (co-produced with the Seattle Children's Theatre under the artistic direction of former IRT associate director Courtney Sale) that grapples with the range of stress and solidity of eight people's enforced isolation, protected by two sympathetic Dutch gentiles.

Up and across Bill Clarke's sturdy and subtly worn-looking set, the cast moves with a naturalness that mimics
Returning to he hideaway after the war, Otto finds Anne's diary.
ordinary household tasks even while it underlines the annex dwellers' tortured awareness of the shelter's fragility. German occupation of the Netherlands has forced Jews into situations like the Franks' and the Van Daans', though most lack any kind of safety as the Final Solution spreads and clamps down along with Nazi conquest. More than two years of confinement comes to a sudden, violent end; for once, with such a well-known story, there's no need to avoid spoilers.

Played with dogged steadiness, a portrait of hard-won self-control, Otto Frank (Ryan Artzberger) is left at the end to deliver the only survivor's account of what happened to the others shortly before the war's end. This speech is an elaborate mass obituary; the pages he finds scattered on the floor require no more spoken words as the lights come down.

I was reminded of the title character of "The Ghost Writer," Philip Roth's sensitive short novel in which Anne Frank emerges as a wraith-like eminence reflecting on her masterpiece with conviction, but also thinly veiled despair: "The improvement of the living was their business, not hers; they could improve themselves, if they should ever be so disposed, and if not, not. Her responsibility was to the dead, if to anyone — to her sister, to her mother, to all the slaughtered schoolchildren who had been her friends. There was her diary's purpose, there was her ordained mission: to restore in print their status as flesh and blood...for all the good that would do them."

The IRT show fulfills this tribute, though the company's purpose is at least in part to enlist the living in
Mrs.Van Daan enthralls Anne speaking fondly of the old days.
rededication to empathy and idealism, to "never again" commitment. The way the stage version  — by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett (in an adaptation by Wendy Kesselman that honors the unexpurgated diary that Otto Frank was too squeamish about) — does this is to dramatize the characters' flaws as well as strengths. We feel both the devotion and the mutual irritation in the relationship of the Van Daans, who are given the right blend of pathos and irascibility by Constance Macy and Rob Johansen. In Benjamin N.M. Ludiker's performance, their son Peter nicely evolves from shyness and hostility to a hesitant romantic rapport with Anne.

The Frank family weaves several strands of counterpoint around the dominant melody of the precocious diarist. Hannah Ruwe is the bright older sister Margot, an unabrasive role model for Anne; Betsy Schwartz plays the doting mother, punctilious and partial to Margot, fighting to beat back her deepening pessimism. Michael Hosp projects a fretful air of displacement and gradual accommodation as the dentist Dussel.

The group's Dutch helpers, righteous friends and protectors who shoulder a different kind of risk in keeping the eight secluded Jews from official notice, convey trustworthiness and compassion in the performances of Sydney Andrews as the beloved Mies and Mark Goetzinger as the more anxious Mr. Kraler.

The show's visual and auditory impressions give precise reinforcement to the dire circumstances. The inhabitants listen to the radio for war news, poignantly celebrate Hanukkah with makeshift gifts, try to keep their hands off each other's throats in some cases and in others continue to learn and grow and cultivate outside interests even as they are being shut off from outside freedoms. Andrew Hopson's sound design, with recurring lamentations of solo cello, grimly yet amusingly evoked a cartoon I recently saved.  He also makes effective use from time to time of Arvo Pärt's meditative "Fratres."

The overall effect of the IRT's totally involving dramatic package is, as the pained words Roth puts in Anne's mouth remind us, less didactic than restorative.

[Photos by Zach Rosing]

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Reclamation project: The Adderley Brothers in their heyday, "Swingin' in Seattle"

Northwest passage: CD cover of Adderley gig
One of the exciting historic jazz releases of 2019 so far has been a selection of pieces from four nights of two gigs Cannonball Adderley and his quintet played for radio broadcast at Seattle's Penthouse in 1966 and 1967 (Reel to Real Recordings).

It was the era of "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy," the infectious groove work of Adderley's pianist, young Joe Zawinul, that was to lift the alto saxophonist into a high plane of popularity that in some ways obscured the gifts he was to bring to the alto saxophone — separating that instrument finally from its modern-jazz bondage to Charlie Parker.

"Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" is mercifully absent from this disc, but Zawinul is on hand, lending grit and lyricism all his own to band. Of course, the front line enjoys the partnership of Cannonball and his brother, cornetist Nat.  Filling out the band is Victor Gaskin, bass, and Roy McCurdy, drums.

Co-producers Zev Feldman and Cory Weeds have preserved the folksy, flavorful stage commentary by the leader, which helps communicate the intimate club feel. But the musical rewards alone are sufficient: Nat and Cannonball are tightly coordinated partners as the tunes are enunciated. There's always a piquant contrast in their soloing: Nat, despite some lower-register growls and a gift for shooting aloft unexpected flares, is generally understated. His muted tone is exquisite, and his solos (on "The Girl Next Door," for example) make a firm impression, but in a more insinuating manner than his brother's.  Cannon inevitably has the band's firm purchase on sheer exuberance.

It's fun to hear Zawinul,  soon to become hugely influential as the co-founder of Weather Report, lay out some signature improvisations. His accompanying is first-rate, on a level with Herbie Hancock's of the same era, and unfettered by cliches. Gaskin is well-recorded, and always makes the group's harmonic foundation indelible. McCurdy displays consistent drive, but now and then his ceaseless accenting habit calls too much attention to itself.

"The Sticks" is a Cannonball original that shapes the direction the Adderleys were soon to go in as they gathered  a mass audience for their version of downhome hard bop.  For melodic charm, there's nothing much better on the disc than "The Morning of the Carnival," a melody from the Brazil-centered film "Black Orpheus."  The saxophonist plays with more vibrato than usual, but avoids the sentimentality that weighs down the showcase he gives himself on Leonard Bernstein's "Somewhere."

His "Carnival" solo reaches to the fierce edges of the melody; when it occurs to him to paraphrase "Yankee Doodle," of all things, he lifts the piece to a shout of hemispheric solidarity.

"Swingin' in Seattle: Live at the Penthouse (1966-67)" ends with a bop-inspired crowd-pleaser, "Hippodelphia." It's the sort of torrential long-form performance would soon dilute the Adderley legacy, perhaps, but a recording like this helps establish how much substance there was to his artistry.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Indianapolis Quartet comes to the north side with a Butler University composer's work

Based at the University of Indianapolis, the Indianapolis Quartet introduced itself to the north side.
Despite the advice of St. Paul, we don't necessarily need to "put away childish things" if they can deliver retrospective benefits once we're all grown up. That was amply demonstrated by the Indianapolis Quartet's performance of Frank Felice's "Five Whimsies for Non-Grownups" at the ensemble's Butler University concert Tuesday night.

Felice, associate professor of composition, theory, and electronic music at Butler, based the work on five of his favorite children's books, each of its movements titled by a quotation from the book. "Five Whimsies" is the product of a commission from the New Century String Quartet in 2010. All sorts of credit must go to the composer for taking a risk that "whimsy" deserves stature as a formal label in the tradition of a capriccio.

Frank Felice spake again as a child in "Five Whimsies."
The music indeed makes the most of its whimsical genesis. In this performance at Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall, visual support was provided by slides projected on a screen behind the quartet illustrating each whimsy: a cover shot and the relevant inside page for each book did the trick.

"I'm in the milk, and the milk's in me," from Maurice Sendak's "The Night Kitchen," shows a contented lad inside a bottle of milk. How sensible it seemed, then, to hear a wash of imitative phrases passed around the quartet, suggesting the mutual absorption of child and beverage. Similarly, squeals counterpointed by anxious tremolos conveyed "Two weeks passed and it happened again" from Chris Van Allsburg's "The Mysteries of Harris Burdick," as it echoed the picture of an alarmed man raising a chair overhead and looking down at a lump under the rug.

The quartet — Zachary DePue and Joana Genova, violins; Michael Isaac Strauss, viola; Austin Huntington, cello — pursued Felice's whimsical expressions with vigorous commitment. It was a sign of the bright profile the musicians gave to each movement that "Great yawns are in blossom" (from "The Sleep Book" by Dr. Seuss) wasn't in the slightest soporific. After a sweet cello solo got things started, a viola passage nurtured another yawn blossom, and the ensemble's fine blend eventually found a snoozy resolution with a "good night" in harmonics.

"Five Whimsies" amounted to a fitting vehicle for the Indianapolis Quartet's first performance at Butler University. The Felice piece was substantially bookended by string quartets by Haydn and Mendelssohn. Opening the concert was the Austrian master's "Lark" Quartet (op. 64, no. 5 in D major).

After the work took flight living up to its nickname in the first movement, the Indianapolis Quartet showed its internal sensitivity with effective changes of pace at phrase ends in the "Adagio cantabile" second movement. Tempo adjustments weren't overdone, but put into service of the prevailing lyricism. The minuet movement was  taken quite fast, pressing forward as if in anticipation of the "scherzo" designation that the minuet was to grow into; for many years, symphonic minuets were played too slowly, historians tell us. This one was properly brisk, with some bracing dynamic contrasts emphasized in the Trio. The fleet finale featured well-judged balances between the violins and the lower strings.

The Haydn quartet stemmed from a milestone year for the composer, 1790, as Haydn found release from aristocratic service to become a celebrated freelancer. Similarly, though the milestone was much less favorable, Mendelssohn's Quartet in F minor, op. 80, comes from his milestone year of 1847, which marked his premature death, preceded by that of his beloved sister. The F minor quartet is filled with tension and turmoil, commonly said to reflect Felix's mourning for Fanny. It's also been interpreted as the composer's premonitory sense that an era of classical restraint was about to end, because 1848 was to mark revolutionary upheaval across Europe.

Acceleration toward the end of the first movement was unanimously handled, capping the almost non-stop tension. The equally disturbing second movement established the uncanny atmosphere of someone walking in on a temper tantrum and perhaps tempted to beat a hasty retreat; lots of weight was loaded onto the foreboding Trio in this performance.  I liked the buoyancy given to the third-movement respite from all this; the quartet did not press, but let the music float whenever it could. With the tension resuming, the finale seemed to indicate that moments of relief from extreme stress can be strategic; there was a sense of spontaneity, as if the musicians were figuring out how to build up to the next fit of released energy. They always succeeded, and the performance ended in a galvanic coda, hinting at a transcendence Mendelssohn was not to find in this life.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

'The Ballad of Klook and Vinette': Fonseca Theatre Company stages a song cycle embedded in a searing narrative

Dwuan Watson and LeKesha Lorene play deeply committed lovers.
Unlike another famous ballad that strikes deep into black folklore, "The Ballad of Klook and Vinette" is not about love gone wrong through any doomed straying on the part of one partner.

"Frankie and Johnny" offers a timeless warning of the sometimes fatal consequences of infidelity. In contrast, Ché Walker's emotionally involving story of African-American lovers in the contemporary big city describes a strong romance that goes wrong because of an external threat and bad luck.

The bond that Dwuan Watson and LaKesha Lorene forge in this one-act drama with music has the audience pulling for the romance's staying power. The Fonseca Theatre Company's first show of the New Year is a love letter whose power will extend through Valentine's Day weekend at the company's temporary home, Indy Convergence.

Walker's script is often ornate, weaving together high-flown talk with street vernacular, including tightly packed hip-hop rhymes and alliteration. Sometimes the stylistic breadth seems to override character delineation, though Bryan Fonseca's direction keeps the story anchored in plausible people.

To launch the action, there's a meet-cute in a juice bar, and mutual attraction quickly attains a laser-like focus. The actors' body language, quasi-choreographic now and then, displays the complexity of the bond between a middle-aged man with a checkered past and a young woman torn by self-doubt and apt to undercut her potential as a writer and a human being. They are good for each other; love helps both Klook and Vinette draw on their most positive resources to support what is best in the other.

From time to time, Klook and Vinette give vent to their feelings in song. The songs, by Aroushka Lucas and Omar Lyefook, are deftly accompanied in this production by guitarist Tim Brickley and keyboardist Jon Strombaugh. Some of the songs are melodically sturdy, like the crucial "Am I in Your Heart?," while others are designed almost as accompanied recitative, joined informally at the hip to spoken dialogue. At Sunday afternoon's performance, the rapport between singers and accompaniment struck home. Even the finale, a duo reprise of the song we first hear as Klook's solo, made the impact it needs to, though the tune is slight.

Bernie Killian's set design, given extra significance by Fonseca's lighting, is an uncluttered arrangement of two straight-back chairs and a matching wood table.  The sunlight streaming in through Venetian blinds is an effect that reinforces the hope sustaining the relationship, even though that hope is shadow-striped and eventually snuffed by a creepy outsider's interference in the lovers' lives. Laurie Silverman's costuming, especially of Vinette, heightens the contrast between the worker-bee mentality of Klook and his insecure girlfriend's upwardly mobile fashion sense.

The melding of diverse personalities, so vital to so many kinds of relationship, comes through winningly in Lorene's and Watson's performances. The script juggles a variety of attitudes and conflicts with occasional awkwardness, but the solid romantic foundation of "The Ballad of Klook and Vinette" is never in doubt. To borrow a line from a much different tragic ballad: "O Lordy, how they could love!"

Saturday, February 9, 2019

An old saxophone master with an influential sound heads a top-drawer quintet at the Palladium

David Sanborn has one of the most distinctive sounds among veteran jazz saxophonists. That has helped give
him a saving difference from the "fusion" genre with which he has been associated by reputation since the 1980s.

He brought a quintet with heavy-hitting integrity to the Palladium Friday night. The new group, with a crackerjack rhythm section backing up a front line of trombone joined to the leader's alto sax, exemplifies the authentic jazz tradition of a small-group dynamic that relies on the maximum individuality of its members.

This set-up not only allows Sanborn to maintain his stature away from "smooth" jazz, but prudently gives a few concessions to age insofar as the 73-year-old maestro can husband his resources.  In two sets before a large audience at the Carmel arts palace, Sanborn poured out his patented intensity and sassiness in measured amounts. Perhaps the phrasing is less torrential these days, but the signature tone remains deeply rooted and readily inviting: the hallmarks of his popularity continue to stand up against Father Time.

A pensive David Sanborn
His able colleagues were trombonist Michael Dease, keyboardist Andy Ezrin, bassist Ben Williams, and drummer Billy Kilson. The hard-bop niche formula — nicknamed T 'n' T for front lines consisting of tenor sax and trombone — is tweaked to a higher register in this group. Dease's mastery of the trombone's upper range made him a compatible partner for Sanborn's alto. With his butter-smooth facility and soft burr to his tone occasionally recalling Slide Hampton, Dease also provided a contrast with the leader's aggressive, if amiable, style. He got a showcase cadenza in Marcus Miller's "Moputo," unaccompanied in a series of challenging sequences and quasi-vocal smears that delighted the audience.

That piece, which ended the first half, also featured the idiomatic command of keyboards displayed by Ezrin, who did so much with his rhythm-section partners to lay down an infectious groove that set up Dease's solo. The bassist had already exhibited his solo chops in a florid solo on Michael Brecker's "Half Moon Lane."

After intermission, Ezrin and Williams were Sanborn's sole partners in a pop-song adaptation, "All in the Game."  The Sanborn ballad style, which has been aptly described as heart-wrenching, was extensively deployed. His playing aroused my mixed feelings about quotes in jazz solos, however; incorporating the first phrase of "It Might As Well Be Spring" a couple of times was clever, but a more extensive quotation from "When You Wish Upon a Star" toward the end seemed to bury the less-familiar tune ("All in the Game") under one that's in everybody's ear-worm supply.

Another Brecker piece brought back the full quintet, very nifty in the abstract theme, which takes an oblique approach to its harmonic underpinning in the manner of the Ellington classic "Cottontail."  The changes were fully embraced by the time the solos rolled out. The late Roy Hargrove's "Spanish Joint" was a tidy delight, and the announced last number, "On the Spot," rewarded the audience's evident enthusiasm for Kilson's drumming with plenty of room for him to vary his patterning from understated triplets to a full-on funky display.

Again, it was a wise indication that, no matter the eminence of the star-leader, the band's the thing in a satisfying jazz concert. And this band is about much more than an old-timer's vanity. That's a minimal element in what Sanborn has to offer, as was underlined by his amusing, often self-deprecating, oral program notes.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Italian conductor makes US debut here with program of Respighi, Rachmaninoff, and Shostakovich

Daniele Rustioni displayed exuberance and discipline in US debut.
Last spring after an Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra concert, I modulated my overall praise of Sergei Rachmaninoff's Second Symphony, one of his most popular works, with some quibbles about parts of it, starting with the first movement. I can be more wholehearted about the Third (in A minor, op. 44), though it doesn't reach the totally disarming, energetic heights of the Second.

The A minor puts a nice cap on the full ISO program this weekend. The second performance will be at 7 tonight. Guest conductor Daniele Rustioni, appearing in the United States for the first time here this weekend, conducted Ottorino Respighi's "Fountains of Rome" to open the Hilbert Circle Theatre concert Friday; filling out the first half was Dmitri Shostakovich's Cello concerto no. 21 in E-flat, op. 107, with Julian Steckel the soloist.

The ISO and Rustioni had the opportunity to prepare the Rachmaninoff symphony as the sole work on Thursday's Coffee Classical Concert. The score has some tricky rhythmic matters for musicians to navigate amid the sort of transparency that Rachmaninoff didn't command in earlier works for orchestra. This meant for a few shaky moments, evanescent as bubbles, in a generally splendid reading Friday.

The A minor stems from 1935-36, and my preference for it has to do with that late-refined transparency and the way the restless, soul-stirring quality of the Russian composer's best music in this work seems less freely indulged and more subject to bold shadings and abrupt inflections. Those seem to turn Rachmaninoff into something of a modernist-at-a-distance. The surprises pop up initially in the first of three movements, but under the control Rustioni evinced, everything flowed without jolts.

Guest concertmaster Yuna Lee's brief solos were a highlight of the second movement, as was the deft generation of the almost elfin "scherzo" episode that takes over the movement's second half before yielding to a compact reminder of how it all started. Tempo flexibility was a hallmark of the well-structured finale, with such brief, germane inspirations as the "Dies irae" reference (an old friend of the composer's) and a tidy fugal section. The energy accumulates without wasted motion in an assertive, brassy coda.  Friday's audience was charmed by the dash and brilliance of that conclusion. Rustioni shared the acclaim generously with the orchestra, soloist by soloist, section by section.

Julian Steckel brought plenty of brio to the diverse demands of Shostakovich.
To open the program with "The Fountains of Rome" allowed the audience an introduction to the effusive conductor's management of orchestral color. The views of four Roman fountains at different times of day were splendidly portrayed. The expressive import of dawn's hints (the Fountain of Valle Giulia) yielding to the illumination of full morning (the Triton Fountain) was vivid. "The Fountain of Trevi" basked in a midday glare that evoked its close tone-poem relatives in "The Pines of Rome" and "Roman Festivals." The hush of dusk completed the four-part picture hauntingly with the Villa Medici Fountain at sunset.

German cellist Julian Steckel completes the ISO guest list this weekend. Friday, in Shostakovich's First Cello Concerto, his playing was rightly heavy with emotion, but never leaden. That stood out especially in the lyrical second movement, which gathers up strength from the vigorous first movement — exceptionally well-coordinated Friday — to shape the work's summit: a substantial solo cadenza. Its feather-soft opening seemed to have a steel quill at its center. The episode rose to a deftly tossed-off virtuoso climax, featuring lots of precise fingerwork and some spotlessly struck passages in harmonics. These helped to emphasize the eerie isolation of the solo instrument before the orchestra, attentively guided by Rustioni, resumed its simpatico partnership with him in the finale.