19 September 2011

Musical week-end

This week-end kicked off the Ann Arbor-based University Musical Society's season, which meant, in conjunction with a Gershwin concert on Friday afternoon and a masterclass with Jessye Norman, a very full musical couple of days for me indeed. (Ah, my life is difficult...)

Ahmad Jamal, via allaboutjazz.

Ahmad Jamal, jazz piano legend, set the right mood and then some on Saturday night. The group, composed of Jamal, Herlin Riley (drums), James Cammack (bass) and Manolo Badrena, filled Hill Auditorium with an electrifying energy. The four men on stage had terrific interplay, and the charisma exuded by Jamal as he played had us enthralled. What a show this 81-year-old can put on! I needed no push to stand and cheer, demanding an encore with the rest of the audience (the foursome obliged), and I left the hall buoyed by my evening.

I didn't have long to wait for another concert, as the Emerson Quartet was on the following afternoon in Rackham Auditorium performing Mozart's last three string quartets (K. 575, K. 589, K. 590), as well as his Adagio and Fugue in c minor (K. 546). There was admittedly a bit of a kerfuffle getting us all into our seats (I pity the ushers who had to maneuver a full house in the newly renumbered system!), but I doubt this is what the audience took away from the concert. The first quartet initially lacked some vigor and articulation for my taste, but the Emersons came into their own for the third movement minuet. In fact, I discovered a previously undiscovered predisposition for minuets in myself yesterday!

So I got little work done this week-end (remember, my life is difficult), but I would say it was well worth it to get to experience such an array of musical talent. I'm certainly looking forward to the continuation of my cultural endeavors in Ann Arbor - Mark Morris Dance Group this week-end at Power Center.