Geoff Nuttall rules. He's in town again to play at Carnegie's Zankel Hall, this time with Nicolas Hodges (piano) and Derek Bermel (clarinet), performing works by Biber, Harman, Stravinsky, Bermel, Birtwistle, Beethoven, and Bartok. The last time he performed at Zankel, he rocked the house with Dawn Upshaw (whom we bumped into on the way into the hall) in a Peter Sellars production of Kurtag's Kafka Fragments.
Good friendship aside, Geoff is one of my favorite musicians to watch in action. He's fanatical about living up to a pure sense of what music is to him, and he's extremely effective at allowing the music to communicate itself to the audience.
I particularly enjoyed Biber's Passacaglia in g minor for Solo Violin (Geoff) and Stravinsky's Three Pieces for Solo Clarinet (Bermel). I was *not* a fan of the Birtwistle pieces. Blech.
Luckily, I had comic relief sitting next to me in the forms of Paul Groves, Todd Palmer, and Pedja Muzijevic. After Bermel played the Stravinsky by memory, Paul asked Todd (a clarinetist) whether it was normal to perform on the clarinet from memory. Todd replied, "yeah, sometimes."
By then, Bermel had reappeared in front of three music stands which he then used to hold the music for the next piece -- a piece he himself composed. Pedja, who had just been saying how it had been really nice to hear the Stravinsky played from memory, remarked (without missing a beat), "... but he can't remember his own piece?"
har har har. I think it was in the delivery. It wasn't meant to be mean or anything (no one's judging!), but it was a funny moment. :)
I was also excited to find a portrait I took of Geoff both on a poster on the outside wall of Carnegie Hall and in the Playbill. It's not the best portrait I've ever taken, but I'm told that it's "very Geoff."
Also, Geoff and I went to Sushi Yasuda for omakase a few nights ago (again!). This time, we sat at the sushi bar. I *love* that place.