Igudesman & Joo had a wonderful time in the U.S. once again and are very much looking forward to the next concerts in September. Even the critics liked them – there must be something fishy going on! Check it out online: LINK
Critic by JUDITH WHITE For The Saratogian
Aleksey Igudesman & Richard Hyung-Ki Joo brought their blend of comedy and classical music to the Spa Little Theater inside Saratoga’s Spa State Park Sunday.
There were fresh, young faces both onstage and in the audience Sunday afternoon at a Saratoga Chamber Music Festival performance in Spa Little Theatre.
Aleksey Igudesman & Richard Hyung-Ki Joo were the musicians, a violinist and a pianist who met while young students at the prestigious Yehudi Menuhin School in England, and went on to establish themselves in Europe as a comedic classical music act.
I shudder to think how disruptive this pair’s clowning might have been when they were young students. Regardless, they managed to keep their adolescent humor and tricks, and have packaged that with their extraordinary musical talents in novelty routines.
The end result is “A Little Nightmare Music,” an act that brought real guffaws from an audience that on this afternoon spanned at least 90 years in age.
Pre-school-aged kids laughed uncontrollably when Joo’s right hand seemed to have been amputated by the piano’s key cover, and the audience was spellbound when the one handed pianist returned to play Scriabin’s Nocturne for Left Hand, with sensitivity instead of comedy.
Similarly, Igudesman showed his musical capability in several instances, easily managing enormously difficult passages.
But the real story here is how well this pair use their musical knowledge and talents as a link to fun.
The show began with a standard cell phone melody interrupting Igudesman and Joo’s playing of the “Spring Sonata.” The two then incorporated the ringtone as a theme in the sonata, and like all good comedy, the joke had a life of its own throughout the show.
Igudesman did some marvelous sound effects while tuning his instrument, and Joo lost his patience while trying to fit in practice time on a credit card-operated Steinway.
Together with a broom and Igudesman’s violin, the pair became Riverdancers, their step dancing a hoot.
Joo sang a falsetto “All By Myself” and “She’s Got a Ticket to Ride” into the harmonies of another sonata, and Igudesman used his violin bow in unimaginable ways.
One of the best moments by the pair was a clever musical recap of the show, played as a finale. Audience memory required nothing more than a couple of bars of music, or a gesture or word, to renew the musical jokes, which included the ringtone theme.
The duo were called back for several encores at the close of the 90-minute show.