Grandeur and intimacy

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The Boston Phoenix
Lloyd Schwartz
April 26, 2006

...And in the Moonshine Room at the Club Café, one of the off-the-formal-concert-hall-beats of Gil Rose's Boston Modern Orchestra Project, we got a rich program, with extraordinary soloists. A percussion tour de force by Samuel Solomon in John Cage's paradoxically but accurately titled Composed Improvisation for Snare Drum (Solomon using not only his hands and drum sticks, but also a pencil, a gavel, pebbles, space change, and his breath). Rafael Popper-Keizer's powerful rendition of the last-movement Ciaccona from Benjamin Britten's Second Cello Suite. And violinist Gabriela Diaz in a bewitching performance of Pierre Boulez's 1991 Anthèmes. The come-hither meow of Diaz's upward slides and her sustained pianissimo fade-out were miracles of color, texture, and feeling. Her concentration never wavered despite relentless static from the electronic cash register. (Anthèmes is short — couldn't the money-changing stop even for 10 minutes?) The concert ended with Diaz and Popper-Keizer — their vibrant playing and sympathetic rapport an ideal collaboration — in Zoltán Kodály's assertive, tender, and tuneful 1914 Duo, which surely should get played more often than it does.

Lloyd Schwartz of the Boston Phoenix