The October recital for the Johannesburg Musical Society featured Zuill Bailey on cello, together with Bryan Wallick on piano. It was a dark and stormy night but the auditorium was respectably full, with people really not wanting to miss the opportunity to hear this world class concert.
It was a wonderful concert. Zuill (pronounced “Zool”) Bailey is one of the world’s leading cellists. However, it is his charisma as a raconteur about his life and music that makes the work so compelling.
He is an educator, and that comes across in his talks. He is a professor at the University of Texas, El Paso. He shares about his musical family and his discovery of the cello when he was only four years old. He plays one of two Goffriller instruments dating back to 1693 and he shares how the instrument itself has been adapted by the lengthening of the fingerboard.
The programme was interesting, starting with Boccerini’s Cello Sonata in C Major, followed by Beethoven’s Sonata No 4 in C, Opus 102, No 1 and then Gregor Piatigorsky’s Variations on a Theme of Paganini. The latter work is a playful look at the mannerisms of other musicians – Pablo Casals, Paul Hindemith, Raya Carbonsova, Erica Mormi, Felix Salmond, Joseph Szigeti, Yehudi Menuhin, Nathan Milstein, Fritz Kreisler, himself, Gaspar Cassado, Mischa Elman, Ennio Bolognini, Jascha Heifetz and Vladimir Horowitz.
After interval we get to hear the piece for which Zuill Bailey won the 2017 Grammy for Best Performance – Tales of Hemingway by the American composer Michael Daugherty. A standing ovation follows.
The encore was Massenet’s Meditation of Thais.
What a wonderful concert this turned out to be. Zuill Bailey is the soloist on Wednesday 25 October and Thursday 26 October 2017 with the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra at the Linder Auditorium at 20:00. Catch him at one of these concerts if you missed him at the Johannesburg Musical Society (of course, if you heard him at the JMS you will want tickets to hear him again).
The year-end concert for the Johannesburg Musical Society will take place on Saturday 11 November 2017 at the Linder Auditorium at 20:00 and it will feature Gloria Campaner on piano.