reviewed by Paula Citron
Rachmaninov and Tan Dun
Festival de Lanaudière
Conducted by Jean-Marie Zeitouni
Performed by Valentina Lisitsa, piano, Matthew Barley, cello and Orchestre du Festival
At Amphitheatre in Joliette, Quebec
One of the joys of Festival de Lanaudière is inventive programming.
The concert opened with the sensational Ukrainian-American Valentina Lisitsa performing Rachmaninov’s rarely heard Third Piano Concerto and she romped through the difficult music as if it were child’s play. Lisitsa cuts a dashing figure both on stage and at the piano. A tall blonde Amazon in a designer dress, Lisitsa’s fingers seem to float above the keyboard.
American-Chinese composer Tan Dun’s The Map, for cello, video and orchestra was excellently played by soloist Matthew Barley, but there were technical problems with the video, and the positioning of one of the screens obscured the view of a third of the audience. Nonetheless, the interaction between live musicians making western instruments sound Chinese, and traditional Chinese musicians playing on screen was fascinating.
Once again, maestro Jean-Marie Zeitouni conducted the Orchestre du Festival in serious music making. His sensitivity to the intentions of composers is remarkable.
Festival de Lanaudière continues at Joliette, Quebec until Aug. 2.