KC Symphony: Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with Bezhod Abduraimov
Last year, since we were having a baby, we considered letting our season tickets to the symphony lapse, but we knew that existing season subscribers would get first dibs at seats in the brand new and highly acclaimed Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts for this year. So we kept our subscription, even during the year that we were too absorbed by new baby to make it to all the performances. And now, the 2011-2012 season is here we have really good seats. Last weekend was actually our second time in Helzberg Hall; two weeks ago we enjoyed our first performance in the acoustically superb concert hall - the Kansas City Chorale perform Brahms' Requiem. But I've really been looking forward to last weekend's performance featuring pianist Behzod Abduraimov - he played Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini and he was just as amazing as I had hoped him to be. A virtuoso on a virtuosic piece inspired by a virtuoso. If what they are saying about Helzberg Hall is true, then Abduraimov's performance would have sounded fantastic from any seat in the house. But I heard it from just one seat very close to the stage. Close enough to see the red blemishes on the undersides of the viola players jaws, close enough to see the price sticker on the bottom of the second violinist shoe, close enough to see the wrinkle in the tails of Michael Stern's tuxedo jacket, close enough to see the beads of sweat flying off of Bezhod Abduraimov's brow while he played. I had a perfect line of site to the underside of the piano and a bit of debris on the floor and Abduraimov's feet, which - call me crazy - were fun to watch as they were just as expressive as the rest of him, which is very expressive indeed.