An Evening Of Chamber Music Delivers Pleasant Surprise
Philip Glass took to the Vets stage in Providence tonight in the second installment of this season's FirstWorks Artistic Icons series. The chamber music concert featured an assortment of compositions from the famed pianist and composer's illustrious career, and yet the highlight of the evening came from an unexpected source.
The night began with Glass performing a solo titled "Mad Rush" that was originally composed for organ. The piece was melodic, beautiful and cinematic in scope, as much of his songs for this concert were. However, the piece quickly became redundant, despite its technical complexity, leaving this listener wondering how the rest of the show would go.
Then something magical happened. Violinist Tim Fain came out on stage to perform his first solo piece of the night, "Chaconne from Partita for Solo Violin in Seven Movements." The young artist emanates gracious charm with his high cheekbones, dazzling smile and golden locks, and that's before he even played a single note. But then Fain's long, tapered fingers pulled his bow across the strings of his instrument, and the audience was bewitched from the first note to the last. Glass wrote the piece for Fain, but it was the young violinist who breathed life into the song and gave it a soul.
When Fain and Glass performed their first duet, "Music from The Screens," which was made up of three parts, it was a dazzling meeting of the minds. If Glass offered the heartbeat to the compositions, Fain provided the spirit. And thus the evening progressed, a constant ebb and flow of Glass's delicate, undulating piano chords being met head on with Fain's powerful, dynamic violin performances.
It was appropriate then that the concert concluded with a duet called "Pendulum." This was by far the pinnacle of the night. Originally intended to be performed by piano, violin and cello, Fain bravely and deftly brought more than enough string power to the piece, conjuring a heady, hypnotic, and captivating conclusion to an evening filled with brilliant musicality.
Although this was an evening of Glass's work, it was Fain who captured the audience's heart tonight. The young violinist never made any move to steal the composer's thunder, as he always bowed to the maestro's undisputed skill. Yet it was Fain's graciousness that made him even more appealing to watch, which surely earned him a plethora of new fans by the end of the evening.