Chooi brothers present varied Buffalo Philharmonic program

05 May 2024

Following the Prokofiev, Chooi returned to the stage joined by his brother, BPO concertmaster Nikki Chooi, to present Bach’s Double Violin Concerto in D minor, BWV1043. One of Bach’s most famous works, the concerto is also well-known in a later arrangement for two harpsichords. The soloists took the outer movements at a near-breakneck speed – clearly a nod to contemporary practice regarding HIP interpretation. Some of Bach’s musical passages lost a measure of their impact because they flew by so quickly. There were no such issues with the soulful Largo, where the expressive melody was given a full-bodied, almost Romantic interpretation – and it worked well. Throughout the performance, balances between the two solo violins were finely calibrated. The ensemble was led by Nikki Chooi from the violin. Notably, the sound was chamber-like, rather than “slimmed-down big orchestra”.

The brothers returned to present their own duo arrangement of Vittorio Monti’s Csárdás: super-charged excitement, complete with a gypsy version of the Rebel yell.