BELL, DENK, ISSERLIS TRIO: Should I Go?

February 18, 2019, 2:14 AM · Joshua Bell, Jeremy Denk, and Steven Isserlis are playing at The Smith Center in Las Vegas (where I live) in May around my birthday. Small ensembles arent usually my thing, but it would be cool to see Joshua Bell perform (I'm not familiar with the other two).

They're playing:

Mendelssohn: Piano Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 49

Shostakovich: Piano Trio No.2 in E minor, Op.67

Rachmaninov: Trio élégiaque No. 1 in G minor

Ravel: Piano Trio in A minor

Tickets range from $35-$139

Should I give myself an early birthday present and go or should I skip this one? I could honestly go either way.

Replies (16)

February 18, 2019, 2:25 AM · I'd go.

It's a good selection of music. If you don't like small groups this might be your chance to start liking them - I find there is something more intimate about quintets, quartets, and trios that doesn't translate correctly from a recording.

If you go, I recommend watching how they communicate to each other - in an orchestra everyone faces the conductor - he is the point of contact and it is a dictatorship. In a small ensemble it is often more democratic, with more communication between individual musicians. Watch for who sets the tempo when, who's loud and who's quiet, how are they communicating? etc.

It's a great chance, take it. $35 is not bad. $139 is. Just stay with your budget.

Some people will say bring a score - I'd say not to and pay attention to the actual performers - you can follow a recording with a score, but you can't see a recording and get those subtilties. Focus on what's in front of you.

February 18, 2019, 2:27 AM · Do you really think anyone here will say "skip"? The evening guitarist John Williams gave a recital at my school I decided to play snooker instead. In retrospect...
February 18, 2019, 2:33 AM · Go.
February 18, 2019, 2:35 AM · I'd go, too. This will be a great opportunity to hear and see three amazing musicians perform together.
And I agree about the budget.
February 18, 2019, 3:18 AM · Just go. Isserlis is pretty famous, too, especially in Europe and Britain. Like Bell, he's a wonderfully communicative musician. Denk I have never seen in concert, but you can check out his blog.
February 18, 2019, 7:52 AM · I have seen all of them play chamber music, and they are all very good at doing that. So, by all means GO.
February 18, 2019, 11:53 AM · Thanks for posting about this. I live hours away but time and $ permitting would consider making the drive and staying a night in Vegas for this. You should go!
February 19, 2019, 10:37 AM · Amazing players, amazing program - wish I could be there!
February 19, 2019, 11:18 AM · I would be curious about Bell (and I can't remember if I've seen Denk), but when I went to see Isserlis, his sound was bad, his playing was boring, and he was long-winded in talking. This isn't on him, but his pianist also kept tap-dancing under her piano and making a racket - RLS?

I might go and hope Isserlis steps his game up.

February 19, 2019, 11:22 AM · You should always, always go to live music. One thing I learned in the audiophile community is that so many of these guys with 5 figure stereo setups don't go to live events. Why?

I echo the above suggestion to not bring a score, but I would absolutely suggest becoming familiar with recordings beforehand.

February 19, 2019, 1:53 PM · Isserlis and Bell are good friends who go back a long way, and I think that can lead to a very special performance.

https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/how-we-met-steven-isserlis-and-joshua-bell-1505702.html

Isserlis is outstanding, one of the best cellists performing today. Go pull up some youtube videos of him playing Robert Schumann, like https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tm45E8kOR0. We actually have tickets to see him perform Beethoven sonatas with Robert Levin this weekend, and really wish I could see this show too.

February 19, 2019, 2:33 PM · I love piano trios to death. I'd definitely go.
February 20, 2019, 11:06 AM · That is a wonderful and generous program.

If you're not familiar with the piano trio, the first Mendelssohn is a great introduction - every line of it is gorgeous. Takes a great pianist to perform it.

The Rachmaninov and Ravel are both famous and wonderful and the Shostakovich is first rate.

I don't love Bell's approach to chamber music -- he tends to dominate -- but he is always interesting, always willing to take artistic risks.

February 20, 2019, 4:03 PM · If it was me, I not just go, I would GO!

Three amazing artists, and 4 masterpieces of music in one concert... it's pretty rare to get that kind of occasion and opportunity. To each his/her own, but, if I had such an opportunity, and could do it, I would definitely take it.

Cheers!

February 20, 2019, 5:37 PM · Doesn't matter. By this time they're probably sold out.
February 23, 2019, 5:07 PM · Three wonderful musicians, sounds like a great program.


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