Cellist Inbal Segev Treats a Chelsea Crowd to an Intimate Solo Show
Let’s say you run a Chelsea gallery and want to expand your base. Maybe you know somebody who knows one of this era’s great cellists. Why not invite that cellist for a solo performance, and invite a whole bunch of people to see her play? That’s exactly what the brain trust at the FLAG Art Foundation did last night. And the place was packed, an impressively diverse crowd treated to intimate, meticulously nuanced performances of Bach’s Suite in C Major and Krzysztof Penderecki’s Divertimento by Inbal Segev.
Segev approached the Bach emphatically, digging in hard, especially in the lowest registers as she got underway. Ranging from gracefully balletesque to matter-of-factly scurrying to a similarly considered, wary resonance, she brought a wide emotional spectrum to life. The Penderecki gave her a chance to expand her dynamics, shifting through its uneasy leaps, bitingly percussive pizzicato climbs and creepy washes with a steely focus. From the first few notes of the concert, Segev had a feel for the room, with a tone that blended rusticity and moody, richly ambered gravitas. The sonics of the untreated white-box gallery space aren’t suited to many kinds of music, but its natural reverb turned out to be the perfect complement to the program’s mostly low-midrange tonalities.
Enticement via concert has been going on for a long, long time: after all, why do you think so many restaurants have live jazz? And it’s become more crassly commercial since the dawn of social media: punk bands at the sneaker store chain; kiddie bands at the supermarket; sissycore bands at hastily prefabricated Bushwick “luxury” condos. Segev’s performance was a refreshing alternative to all that – and instantly puts the FLAG folks on the map for their consummately good taste.
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