Symphony of a Great City

Excerpt from “Symphony of a Great City”

Crescenta Valley Weekly

April 27, 2017


Transcendence was on display, both in performance and in score, on Saturday afternoon at the Huntington Gardens. Paolo Bordignon, under the auspices of Camerata Pacifica, performed J. S. Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” on a reproduction of a period harpsichord.

Whereas biography is sometimes inextricable from a composer’s work – think of Beethoven, Schumann, Mahler, or Shostakovich – Bach’s music stands apart from the life of the man. Joy and sorrow tint his scores without ever overwhelming the structure. It is music that encompasses emotion without ever becoming about it.

Bordignon’s performance was a quiet marvel of concentration that allowed the listener to relish the details of each variation without sacrificing architectural control. The result was of a kaleidoscopic mosaic, with each variation a dazzling piece that tells on its own as well as part of a whole. Everything was carefully sculpted and considered, yet sounded utterly spontaneous.

These three concerts – and their programs with music that spanned four centuries – were an edifying demonstration of the astonishing range of human creativity, of its capacity to transcend the particular and aim for the universal, of its ceaseless striving for the eternal.

©Crescenta Valley Weekly