Wednesday, December 21, 2011

New York Jazz Club Reviews - Interlude

Interlude: Bella Hristova and Anna Polonsky – October 20, 2011

On our second night in New York, we attended the New York Philharmonic Orchestra’s performance featuring Joshua Bell as soloist on a Tchaikovsky concerto, along with a short piece about Fireworks and Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring”. The Stravinsky was definitely the highlight for me, but in any event, I’ve written enough about Joshua Bell’s concerts that for the second entry in the New York series, I’m going to write about a recital we attended in Birmingham in October instead.

It featured a young Bulgarian (since naturalized, I believe) violinist named Bella Hristova. She’s something like 23, but she had really good command of her violin (even though it did slip a string on her, causing the recital to pause briefly while she adjusted it). Her accompanist, Anna Polonsky, is Russian and a quite capable, dynamic pianist. The program was unremarkable, but I remember that I really enjoyed the piece Bella played solo, which was commissioned specifically for her. It was quite captivating. I’d never really been to a recital where I wasn’t playing, other than one jazz trumpet recital I attended at UAH, so this was quite a good, and new, experience for me.

Though both the young ladies looked quite statuesque on stage from our front row seats, at the meet and greet afterwards, they turned out to be rather petite. During the meet and greet, Bella was kept quite busy, but Anna and her page turner were by themselves at the fruit bowl, so I went over there and talked to them for about ten minutes. Anna’s English is strained in places, but she was quite patient with me as we talked about the value of page turners, practice time, and repertoire. She was also nice enough to let an old creepy guy, me, take a picture with her.
Eric and Anna Polonsky
I finally noticed that Mrs. S had gotten Bella to sign her CD for us, which was a natural, as we were the only ones who bothered to bring her (only published) CD. We chatted a little bit and then she let me take a picture with her, too.
Eric and Bella Hristova
New York was much more exciting, I admit. The Stravinsky was really a revelation for my now well-tuned jazz ears, plus the orchestra was really on top of that one. It was a great experience to hear such a famous and world class orchestra perform, but from there on out, it would be jazz on our last two nights in the Big Apple.

No comments: