Out of curiosity, especially after reading the restless intelligence and enticing spin he recently gave his work on this blog, I went on August 14 to hear young Israeli pianist David Greilsammer make his debut at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival with a late-night, hour-long performance of wide-ranging repertoire.
What I experienced was interesting and problematic in equal measure. There is no question that Greilsammer is a serious and capable musician, and his desire to draw connections through extremely diverse composers is laudable. But his distortion of these composers’ works gives me pause.
In his brief introduction Greilsammer explained that he would play the entire program without pauses between works, and that the first and last were by living composers. He then went on to recount how “frankly annoying” the composer’s reaction to the first piece on the program had been (Helmut Lachenmann’s “Wiegenmusik,” or “Cradle-Music”), when Greilsammer played it for him. Not knowing the Lachenmann work, I can’t vouch for how true to the composer’s intentions his interpretation is. But I’m familiar with all the others on Greilsammer’s program, except for the U.S. premiere that ended the program.