B W Grant Barnes
Mariino Formenti is a musician who doesn't perform music; he embodies it; he resurrects it. And because his own ego is subsumed into the music as he understands and communicates it, he embodies St. Paul's direction, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves." (Philippians 2:3)

From the moment Formenti left his chair on the floor to ascend to the first concert grand Steinway he used, he was in control of the music, his fingers and pedaling, and the audience. It is very rare to go to an event where the entire audience is attentive to what a performer is doing, and whether or not they understand the construction of the music, they recognize that Formenti does and thus they respect his understanding and analysis, not to mention his enormous virtuosity.

If I lived in San Francisco, I know I'd have a subscription to every event San Francisco Performances underwrite and present, because once the Monday Evening Concerts in Los Angeles were evicted from LACMA, there has been no equivalent in the second-largest city in the U.S. Because I don't live in S.F., I must fly up to the individual events, and for Formenti I've flown across oceans to hear him in his intelligently designed and brilliantly executed programs.

I thank San Francisco Performances for having hosted him for Kurtag's Ghosts, and now the two-part Aspects of the Divine. Those two most recent concerts were Extraordinary, and showed what music means to be and to a community.
Posted on 3 Jan 2010, 11:01 PM