January 27, 2010
The most palpable thing about watching Yo-Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax perform a recital of works by Schumann, Chopin and Peter Lieberson last night at Davies Symphony Hall was the rapport between the two artists. They behaved like they were sitting in the living room of one of their homes playing together for fun. They looked at each other almost more often than they looked at their music. Beatific smiles crossed their faces every now and again. The pleasure of their music-making was as evident as the gorgeous, sensitive sound they made together.
The second most palpable thing about the concert was how the pair managed to transform Davies Symphony Hall (which was packed to the gills) into an intimate space. Having witnessed many recitals in the venue in the past, I did't think this was possible -- I'd written it off as one of the least convivial spaces for small ensemble or solo music in town. Now I am forced to reevaluate my opinion.