Midori and Jean-Yves Thibaudet in joint recital at the McCarter

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

Two celebrated artists, violinist Midori and pianist Jean Yves Thibaudet joined forces on Monday, April 15, for a recital at the Matthews Theatre at the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton. It promised to be a fiery evening, since both artists are known for their brilliant technique and artistic flair. They did not disappoint this audience, with a challenging program dispatched with assured mastery. 


The program notes by David Wright provided astute commentary upon and information about their program which included Robert Schumann’s Sonata No. 1 in A minor, op. 105, Gabriel Faure’s Violin Sonata No. 1, Claude Debussy’s Sonata in G minor for Violin and Piano, and George Enescu’s Sonata No. 3, Op. 25 (in Romanian Folk Style). Apparently, both Thibaudet and Midori focused upon late masterpieces by these composers. Schumann was already ill in 1851, and would be shortly institutionalized, dying in 1856. Mr. Wright provided us with many insights. For example, he writes that Schumann often wrote in the lower end of instrumental range because “high-pitched sounds … [exacerbated] the auditory hallucinations and tinnitus that plagued him.” Faure wrote his work in his 30s. Debussy, already fatally ill with cancer, wrote his work on tonight’s program between radium treatments and morphine injections in 1917. He died in 1918. George Enescu, born in 1881, composed his sonata in 1926.


Attention must be paid to the choice by one or more of the artists to have the theatre brightly lit throughout the performance. It was distracting in the extreme. The Matthews Theatre was lit as though it were a high school auditorium or lunchroom. It may have helped the artists to see the audience, but based upon eyewitness testimony, it wasn’t very good to see everything the audience was up to throughout the performance. We could see the small children who began fidgeting during the first few minutes of the recital, cupping their heads in their hands in agony. Or those who took the illumination opportunity to raise their programs to eye level, elbows in the air, to read their programs, as if they were reading the New York Times. It is a testament to the artists’ brilliance that we often forgot such distractions and enjoyed the miraculous performance. It is difficult to believe that any of the pieces on this program could be better played today by anyone. It was a thrilling recital by two masters.


This recital, said to be the first time Mr. Thibaudet appeared at the McCarter, was an auspicious one indeed. It is hoped that both he and Midori return again – to a darkened theatre.


The McCarter Theatre Center presents a variety of theatre, music, dance, and more esoteric presentations. David Hare’s play, Skylight, directed by Emily Mann, will be onstage May 3 through June 2. Pride Night for Skylight will be Thursday, May 16. To receive more information about Skylight, Pride Nights, or their many other offerings, visit www.mccarter.org .



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