[by George Grella]
Ostrava, Czech Republic: Philharmonic Hall
Filip Matuszewski: Scherzo
Lorinc Muntag: For 60
Martin Smolka: Still Life with Tubas or Silence Hiding, for two tubas and orchestra in three movements
Morton Feldman: Piano and Orchestra
…In this context, Piano and Orchestra is a classic, from which all the others come, directly or indirectly. Petr Kotik and Joseph Kubera are masterful partners in works like this, and under Kotik the orchestra sounded more colorful, sonorous and transparent than in the previous works, even in the Smolka at its most minimal. The delicate exactitude of the piano part can leave musicians wondering what to say, but Kubera has such deep understanding of the material that it sounded like he was carrying on a gentle, sotto voce dialogue with the orchestra, responding with humor and humility to the moments of stentorian conflict and loudness that Feldman interjects. Kotik shaped the music so subtly that his contribution wasn’t apparent until the final measures, which on recordings and in performances have often seemed uncertain, anxiously left hanging. In Philharmonic Hall, all the previous music led to the last notes, which sounded like Beckett: unconventional in traditional terms but completely logical and satisfying in this context, aesthetically absolutely right.
George Grella, Seen and Heard International