Brookline is looking better than ever. On my last visit, in 2008, for Lilia Muchnik’s concert at Jordan Hall, Anisimova’s Quintet-Concertante closed the program. All went as planned, except for the weather, which tormented us incessantly. This time, Brookline seemed transformed into a Neverland. Sounds, smells, window-shops, street crowds, all elements of the spectacle came together as an ingenious set-up.
The class became a seminar. Attendees turned out to be all musicians. Discussion reached a rather high level.
There were some very special moments in live improvisation with Lilia Muchnik and Elena Korableva, both of whom proved to be exceptionally fast learners and quite an inspiration. Look for the video, which should be posted soon.
I went to this yesterday, and was very glad I did. It started with a one-hour master class with another cellist and a violinist in which Tanya Anisimova described ways to improvise, both as a soloist and in an ensemble: embellishing on an ostinato, modulating through keys, passing the solo line from one person to another, etc. The violinist was a skilled player but new to improvising, yet under Tanya's tutoring she did it incredibly well. The second hour was a solo recital: Bach, including a really lovely performance of several movements from the first suite with some improvisation; Tanya's original compositions, including "Homage to Starker"; and improvisation on suggestions from the audience. Someone suggested the prelude to the sixth suite, and it was jaw dropping to watch. As it got more and more deeply textured and harmonically complex, she jumped up, laid down the cello, and ran to the piano where she continued with an amazing finale.
The unfortunate thing is that the audience was absolutely tiny, fewer than 10 people. During the first part of the master class I was the ONLY non-participant there; if I'd brought my cello, she would have brought me in to play! It may have been too much competition—David Finckel and Wu Han were performing the same night—but more likely lack of advertising, and even bad advertising, since one notice listed it for a city 30 miles away. But she was absolutely charming, bringing the audience in to the program, encouraging discussion and questions. She's clearly a gifted teacher as well as a phenomenal performer, and I'd encourage anyone to catch her if you have the opportunity. (Source)
Here is the recital part of the event with timings of pieces below for quick reference:
J.S. Bach: Prelude from Violin Partita No.3, BWV 1006 (5:05 - 9:10)
J.S. Bach Cello First Suite in G: Prelude (9:57-12:28) - Sarabande (12:30-15:22) - Menuet (15:24-19:14) - Gigue (19:14-21:00)
Anisimova: Souvenir From St. Petersburg (Prodigal Son) (23:18-30:16)
Anisimova: Homage to Janos Starker (33:02-39:05)
Rachmaninoff: Vocalise and Improviation (40:29 - 48:06)
The Improvisation workshop can be viewed on YouTube
Memling's "Christ Giving His Blessing" never stops working on you. The painting is small, but the concentration of energy in it is enormous. Gerard David's "Holy Family" is hanging near by. An exquisite masterpiece it is, too. Still, Memling, unlike David, is not trying to paint a subject, however wonderful, but rather focuses on the process itself (blessing), thus having this process continue for centuries. How lucky for us!