by Nicholas Stevens
Would it matter if the best-ever performance of Bach’s Suites for solo cello took place in a cinder block closet with no one listening? The question, which one could safely and simply answer “no,” may seem like a dull retread of the classic “if a tree falls…” formula. However, it raises a question of its own: how much can the venue and framing of a performance do to elevate a musical experience?
Can we attribute some of the special glow of a concert to the room, spoken introductions, and circumstances without giving excellent musicianship short shrift? In the case of a live-streamed concert by cellist Mark Kosower this past weekend, this writer’s answer is yes — or ja, in Bach’s German.