Double-Wow at Music in Landrum program

Published 8:00 am Friday, March 30, 2018

As young Michael Drusdow alternated between playing his violin and the piano, he quickly established his mastery of both.

He started with violin at age 6, and then began piano studies at 10. Unable to pick a favorite instrument to express his musicianship, he will be continuing his study of both at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

I was especially glad that Michael chose to play familiar (to me) pieces that I have heard many times, usually played by more experienced artists. He offered no big surprises, but rather gave a very good account of all of them. There were some interesting emphases and nuances, as befits any artist musician.

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The Boston piano was “born big” and I enjoyed Michael’s exploitation of its bass section as he frequently “dug in” to relish its power. We agreed that it is always good to be able to start a crescendo and not run out of piano before you take it over the top!     

The big surprise for me was the Vitali Chaconne. I don’t know how this work escaped my notice, but Vitali provided many of the Paganini violin pyrotechnics a century before him! The work is a tour de force of double stops (especially octaves!) and spiccato bowing among its intricacies, which Michael tossed off with aplomb.

Jonah Losh had his work cut out for him at the piano in the Chaconne, too. As with many accomplished artists, Jonah had to be somewhere else right away, so he left before I could chat with him.

I was amused to spot Whitney Blake regally ensconced in a throne-like fancy chair on stage, looking her part as the Queen of Music in Landrum. Thank you, Whitney, for bringing us these wonderful artists who perform regularly for us.

The Belgian chocolate is the icing on the cake.

Garland Goodwin