* Notes *
Pianist Simone Dinnerstein (pictured left, photograph by Lisa Marie Mazzucco) gave the West Coast premiere of Philip Glass' Piano Concerto No. 3 with New Century Chamber Orchestra last night in Berkeley. The piece is sedate and dreamily meditative, written for Dinnerstein, her sensitive and unflashy playing certainly suits it well. She was finely supported by NCCO with guest concertmaster Zachary De Pue, who radiated geniality.
The ensemble seems equally at ease with the contemporary Glass as with the Bach Keyboard Concerto No. 7 in G Minor that opened the second half of this performance. The playing was together and smooth, with characteristic high energy throughout. The shifts from various tempi and dynamics are always perfectly clear.
The first half of the concerto featured Bryce David Dessner's Aheym, a piece from 2009 which has many emphatic arpeggios. Dessner is best known as one of the twin guitarists for indie rock band The National, and it was fun to hear his work sandwiched by a brightly played Purcell's Chacony in G Minor and a crisp rendering of Geminiani's Concerto Grosso No. 12 in D Minor, "La Folia."
Someone on the left side of the hall was desperately trying to open a lozenge during the Dessner, while a watch alarm rang four or five times on the right side during the Geminiani.
I was surprised that the only talking I heard during the performance was during the Glass, a bit of whispering behind me in Row H, perhaps Seats 102 and 104.