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Sunday, June 14, 2009


Yuri Bashmet and the Moscow Soloists
Yuri Bashmet, viola and director

The first time I found out that Yuri Bashmet and the Moscow Soloists were coming to Singapore, I couldn't believe it and wanted to go so bad. The timing wasn't very good, since the concert was during my exam period.

Damn am I lucky that I managed to go for it. It was a truly amazing performance.

Right from the opening bars of the Holberg Suite by Grieg, I knew I was in for a treat. Watching the Moscow Soloists perform live is really something else. Yuri Bashmet himself said, "This orchestra has a very specific sound, a different sound – with a unique colour." I fully agree with him. The experience was close to indescribable.

And my god, listening to Yuri Bashmet live is something even bigger. One of the major highlights of the programme was Bruch's Kol Nidrei - and boy oh boy did was it absolutely stellar. I had goosebumps right from the first note he played. The thing about Bashmet is he really takes the risk. When he means sul pont, he really plays sul pont, and when he means sul tasto, he really, really, really plays sul tasto. Sublime. To say that he is my idol would be an understatement. Really.

The rest of the concert was equally engaging, especially the Tchaikovsky String Serenade. Tchaikovsky himself said that the piece was written for a 'large string ensemble' - which would normally mean the piece should be played by a full string section. Bashmet and the Moscow Soloists though defied that, and the end result was still brilliant. The Elegie was probably the best I've ever heard.

I'm still overwhelmed from last night. The superb balance within the ensemble, Bashmet's 'emotions-without-being-sticky', the excellent gestures shown by Bashmet by thanking each and every member - everything about last night was just great.

So, worth making a trip down to Singapore, right smack in the middle of exams?

You bet.

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