Winnipeg Free Press Newspaper Archives May 9 2015, Page 18

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Winnipeg Free Press (Newspaper) - May 9, 2015, Winnipeg, Manitoba C M Y K PAGE A19 winnipegfreepress. com LATE ENTERTAINMENT SATURDAY, MAY 9, 2015 A 19 GET BACK TO NATURE 110 King Edward St. East | 204.774.2699 | woodcellar. ca | woodworks. ca | Hours: Mon- Sun 10- 6 ST. MATTHEWS AVE. ST. JAMES ST. ELLICE AVE. ROUTE 90 š N POLO PARK “ For more than 30 years, Woodworks has been manufacturing Canadian- made solid wood furniture from sustainable, indigenous North American Oak and Maple. With the finest materials, experienced craftsmen and a commitment to exceptional quality, our products are built to last a lifetime.” W I T H S O L I D W O O D F U R N I T U R E OUR SPRING COLLECTION HAS ARRIVED! MADE IN CANADA! RISK- FREE CAR BUYING... WE GUARANTEE IT! www. 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This is for all the Mothers This is for ALL YOU! T HE Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra closed its 2014/ 15 Masterworks season with two mighty works celebrating the sheer power and strength of the human spirit. And who better could exemplify that noble ideal than its featured guest artist, Japanese- born pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii — simply known as “ Nobu.” Friday night’s concert featured the astounding performer, blind since birth, who electrified the crowd of 1,625 with his performance of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 in E- flat major, Op. 73 , the Emperor . The 26- year old artist has cultivated a strong international following since first rocketing to fame as a joint Gold Medal winner at the 2009 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. Nobu, who made his sold- out debut recital at Carnegie Hall in November 2011, is also a composer in his own right as well as being a dedicated humanitarian. He last appeared on the WSO stage in January 2013 performing Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C major, with no inordinately virtuosic work seemingly out of his grasp. After first being guided to the piano by maestro Alexander Mickelthwate, Nobu first brushed his hands over the length of his keyboard to get the lay of the land. After that, he got right down to business with all guns blazing. The opening- movement Allegro became a fully energized charge, as Nobu pounced on its triplet runs and cascading figuration with every wave of music seeming to pulse through his own rocking body. The pianist displayed his contrasting tonal palette including hushed, even tones and legato phrasing during the second, languorous movement Adagio . But this was no hazy, dreamscape: Nobu shaped his overall arc to incorporate moments of burgeoning strength that connected this section to the first. Then it became time for the rollicking Rondo: Allegro, following the always delicious segue from the previous movement. Here, the soloist held nothing back, punching out its syncopated rhythms that electrified. The audience leaped to its feet with the loudest cheers heard in this concert hall all season long, demanding three curtain calls from the gracious artist who deeply bowed his thanks. The program also included Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5. in D minor, Op. 47 , considered by many one of the greatest masterpieces of the 20th century. It’s also regarded for its ambiguity: composed by Shostakovich in 1937 as a musical peace offering to Stalin after he became criticized for earlier stage works, albeit still infused with sardonic wit and roiling irony. Mickelthwate immediately set the tone for the first movement, Moderato , allowing the strings’ brusque opening to establish a pensive world of brooding intensity. Its second theme of sustained string tones over a repeated rhythmic figure created taut suspense with the maestro scarcely moving a muscle. This section also provided the first spotlighting of individual players, with effective solos laced throughout performed by principal players: Jan Kocman, flute; clarinet Micah Heilbrunn, clarinet; as well as pianist Donna Laube until a final savage call to arms is issued by the percussion section. The audience, as expected, gave all the wonderful players of the WSO and its maestro so clearly committed to this fearless work a rousing standing ovation. The concert repeats tonight at 8 p. m. at the Centennial Concert Hall. holly. harris@ shaw. ca Concert Review WSO: Masterworks . Nobu plays Beethoven’s Emperor . Centennial Concert Hall . Friday, May 8 . Attendance: 1,625 š š š š š out of five By Holly Harris Roll over, Beethoven: Nobu’s Emperor brilliant A_ 19_ May- 09- 15_ FP_ 01. indd A19 5/ 8/ 15 10: 48: 40 PM

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