Trailblazing violinist Jennifer Koh joined Ensemble LPR Friday night as part of (le) Poisson Rouge's LPR X5 festival, presenting music by John Zorn, Charles Wuorinen, and Ludwig van Beethoven. All of the pieces brought a sense of wild abandon that perfectly complemented the youth and excitement of both Koh and Ensemble LPR.
Koh brought a fiery passion to Zorn’s Passagen for solo violin, which—like Wuorinen’s contribution—was written for Ms. Koh. The piece is rife with rapid shifts from tight, intense tremolos and harsh pizzicato to tender ghostly harmonics. Sometimes, just sometimes, Koh coaxed out a pure, ethereal note or phrase that sang out from the chaos before it was swallowed up again. The uneven, rhythmic chords and pizzicato playing gave a distinctly Bartókian flavor, one that was enhanced by Koh’s savage bowing.
The night closed with a magnificent presentation of what Richard Wagner called "the apotheosis of the dance," Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony. While LPR is definitely one of the smaller venues in which a Beethoven symphony has been performed, there was no lack of balance, and the proximity of the audience to the performers only added to the celebratory feel. The almost frenzied sense of celebration present in this piece stems mainly from its rhythms, and Ensemble LPR certainly had the audience's feet tapping throughout. Mr. Muñoz especially offered a riot of energy and excitement in the final movement, embracing the inherent brightness and beauty of this crown jewel of symphonic writing.
Check out the remaining LPR X5 shows here .