Monday’s Intermezzo Chamber Music Series’ concert put the spotlight squarely on Rainer Eudeikis.
The young principal cellist of the Utah Symphony wowed the sizable audience in Vieve Gore Concert Hall with a program that, in the first half, ranged from J.S. Bach to a brand new piece written for Eudeikis. And he easily showed he is comfortable and at home in any style period. Eudeikis possesses superb musicality and an innate sense of interpretation, as well as astounding technical acumen. Watching him play was sheer pleasure.
The concert opened with the world premiere of Circle Limit, written for Eudeikis by the young American composer Louis Chiappetta. It’s a well crafted piece that explores the limits of the cello’s physical capabilities. Eudeikis made short work of it, playing with confidence and imbuing the piece with vitality and virtuosity.
This was followed by Bach’s Cello Suite in C major, BWV 1009 which Eudeikis played in the baroque manner, straddling the instrument between his knees. The cello he played was also outfitted with gut strings and tuned a half step lower than the A440 that’s standard today. Accustomed as we are to hearing the cello suites played by a modern instrument, this interpretation was a breath of fresh air. Eudeikis gave a captivatingly vibrant account, playing the six-movement suite with fluid lyricism and finely molded expressiveness.
Rounding out the first half was Sergei Prokofiev’s romantically tinged Cello Sonata, op. 119. Eudeikis was joined onstage by pianist and Intermezzo music director Vedrana Subotic. Meshing wonderfully together as a duo they captured the work’s lyricism and nuanced expressions.
The second half was devoted to one work, Franz Schubert’s monumental Cello Quintet, in C major, D. 956. For this piece, Eudeikis was in good and familiar company. Joining him were violinists Kathryn Eberle and Claude Halter and violist Brant Bayless, all principal players in the Utah Symphony. Completing the quintet was guest Joyce Yang playing the second cello part. The five gave a richly textured and perceptive reading of what unquestionably is one of the greatest chamber works of the 19th century. They brought depth to their interpretation and sensitivity to their playing that served the music well. Their account was nuanced, cohesive, seamless and fluid.