Audio Review: Igudesman & Joo Join Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall

January 1st, 2014

In the course of the New York Philharmonic’s New Year’s Eve concert at Avery Fisher Hall, the pianist Hyung-ki Joo exposed the 3 straightforward methods essential to make it in the music company: one. Often smile. 2. Enjoy only music that absolutely everyone is aware. three. Show off.

That’s also the recipe he adhered to with the violinist Aleksey Igudesman, his associate in the comedy duo Igudesman &amp Joo, in the evening’s exuberantly foolish plan. But there is nothing simple about it. Their blend of classical audio and comedy, laced with pop culture references and a wholly novel get on the term slapstick, is fueled by real, stunning virtuosity. It is that closing component that provides a dose of magic to their routine — and proves infectious to other musicians.

Since on Tuesday night, the entire Philharmonic came out to play, in each senses of the term. The musicians headbanged to the theme of Europe’s “The Ultimate Countdown.” They sobbed theatrically when Mr. Joo segued from the Adagio of Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Piano Concerto into the pop ballad “All by Myself.” Rebecca Youthful, the affiliate principal violist, showed off some extravagant footwork in snazzy salsa moves. And a whole refrain line of Philharmonic players (which includes the principal cellist, Carter Brey, hugging his Guadagnini to his chest) arrived to the front of the stage to complete an Irish stage dance, all the although taking part in their instruments.

Mr. Igudesman and Mr. Joo met as learners at the Yehudi Menuhin University in England, where they developed the technological chops to begin solo careers. Alternatively, they joined the sparsely populated globe of classical comedy with sketches that on YouTube have scored tens of thousands and thousands of views. Tuesday’s system highlighted some of their most popular ones, like the “Riverdance” tribute, which grows out of  a scene in which Mr. Joo,  impersonating an obtuse cleaner, sweeps close to the toes of Mr. Igudesman, forcing him to jump over the broom.  Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” turns into the commencing point for a musical medley that traverses centuries and styles, like a Baroque fugue and that headbanging fanfare from “The Final Countdown.” Mozart’s “Rondo Alla Turca” gets to be “Alla Molto Turca” when Mr. Igudesman 1st transposes it to A major and then adds B flats, supplying it an injection of Balkan klezmer fever that satisfies it remarkably effectively.

Then there is the bodily comedy, which ways the stage of acrobatics. Mr. Joo, complaining of lacking the essential hand span to engage in the large chords of Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C sharp minimal, enlists the aid of Mr. Igudesman, who materials him with picket sticks fitted with knobs that are specifically spaced to suit the chords. The conceit itself is funny, but the fluid way in which the two men tossed the sticks back again and forth to every other was hypnotic.

There have been additional jaw-dropping acrobatics in Mr. Igudesman’s kung fu rendition of Kreisler’s “Tambourin Chinois” — itself a devilishly difficult piece — when he performed it standing on a single leg, then with his bowing arm threaded beneath the elevated thigh, and last but not least with a bow that was clownishly brief.

Alan Gilbert, the Philharmonic’s music director, took revenge on the cellphone trolls of concerts previous. “Do you ever come to feel your cellphone ringtone does not match the songs you are disturbing?” he requested, just before giving a special Philharmonic ringtone potpourri in which the unique dee-dee-deeeee-dee “Grand Waltz” stored popping up dressed up as Beethoven, or Ravel or Mozart. I’m downloading mine now.

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