Leah Hollingsworth watches a live stream from Boulder Municipal Airport, Colorado, on 23 January 2021
This concert by cellist Zuill Bailey and musicians from the Boulder Philharmonic was performed and filmed in a unique setting: an aeroplane hangar at Boulder Airport. The thoughtfully planned programme opened with Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise, demonstrating nuanced playing and timing. Bailey’s showmanship – which sometimes can be distracting – translated well for a virtual performance and resulted in a delightful recital.
Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s Cello Concerto followed, in the world premiere of a new quintet arrangement by the composer for solo cello, violin, viola, bass and piano. The music is both compelling and accessible; reminiscent of Gershwin with its syncopations, sultry slides, and slightly French influences. Excellent sound engineers and wonderful videography really helped to bring the piece to life. The opening to the third movement was Arvo Pärt-like in its harmonics and ethereal ambience, and the performers embraced the more melancholy atmosphere. Overall, Bailey’s performance never seemed overly dramatic nor out of character. Rather, it came across as quite absorbing.
Schubert’s ‘Trout’ Quintet completed the programme. Despite some moments of questionable intonation and mismatched note lengths, the performance was enjoyable. The Scherzo-Presto was taken at a moderate tempo, with some hesitancy going into the Presto, but it was nice to hear it played so thoughtfully. The concert ended with good energy and flourish.