What do countries really mean in the world of classical music today? Garrett Harris from the San Diego Reader reviewed Arnaldo Cohen’s recent performance with the San Diego Symphony and began asking himself that question.
The San Diego Symphony put Beethoven and Brahms together on Friday night at Symphony Hall. The Beethoven was his Symphony No. 6: The Pastoral. The Brahms was his Piano Concerto No. 1.
Pianist Arnaldo Cohen was the soloist for the Brahms piano concerto. I initially began to go down the road of saying where he is from and what he has done but does it matter?
On Friday night Mr. Cohen was from wherever Brahms was from, and I don’t mean Germany. The performance and the experience of the music was something finer than countries of origin. It was finer than cultural bias and tradition. Mr. Cohen and Brahms and the orchestra and Maestro Ling all came from the same musical country during the performance.
After the music concluded, the audience continued applauding for so long that Mr. Cohen was forced to play some Chopin for us. Cohen is also from where Chopin was from — not talking about Poland.
I’m starting to question this obsessive need to identify which country everyone comes from. I guess it’s safer and easier to discuss Beethoven being from Germany but living in Austria or Brahms also being German and continuing the tradition of Beethoven. Those topics are in bounds but sharing something intimate about the musical experience usually isn’t.
During the slow movement of the Brahms I became aware that something in the area of my heart was starting to close. I realized that this closing was a familiar feeling and tried to relax and allow it to remain open. It was something of an emotional moment because I recognized that I was only aware of the closing. read more at sandiegoreader.com
In a follow up story, Harris follows this line of thinking even further.