Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

July 24, 2019

REVIEW: Tanglewood, Miloš and Ozawa Hall, a marriage made in heaven

Tanglewood, Lenox, MA
July 16, 2019

by Carol Bousquet

Stupendous! The word is not enough to describe fully the innate artistry and experience of hearing Miloš Karadaglić’s debut of classical guitar in the Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood on a summer’s evening July 16. Extraordinary. Breathtaking. Phenomenal. We’re getting closer.

Miloš Karadaglić, 36 years old, frequently known just by his mononym Miloš, is an award-winning classical guitarist from Montenegro. He is dubbed by many to be today’s “guitar hero”, the most famous classical guitarist in the world.

Karadaglić first started playing the guitar at the age of eight. The 16-year-old Miloš successfully applied for a scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music by sending a video tape he recorded at home. He moved to London in September 2000 to begin studying guitar seriously.

If I may, we were hearing two performers. While just one man and his lone guitar graced the stage, one is also experiencing The Seiji Ozawa Hall supporting the artist. Magnificently.

What a fantastic showcase on the 25th anniversary of the famed hall, a humble companion to Tanglewood’s five-thousand-seat Koussevitzky Music Shed constructed in 1938. It’s something to marvel at especially when hearing a performance such as this -- one man, one guitar and 1200 people in the concert hall listening, with no amplification—yet listeners able to savor every note and nuance. The Ozawa Hall, designed by William Rawn Associates / Architects with acoustics overseen by R. Lawrence Kirkegaard, is a magnificent example of award-winning architectural and acoustic design. “A survey of conductors and music critics ranked the Seiji Ozawa Hall as the 4th best American Concert Hall ever built and the 2nd best American Concert Hall built in the last 50 years.” (Source: Leo Beranek, Concert Halls and Opera Houses, 2003.) It’s reason enough to visit Tanglewood!

Miloš opened his program by expressing homage for the iconic talent that had performed on the Ozawa stage before him. Then he went to work demonstrating said homage via his performance.

He opened with J. S. Bach’s Suite No. 2 in C minor, BWV 997 and went on to Granados’ from 12 Spanish Dances: No. 5 Andaluza and No. 2, Oriental. He finished the first half with Albeniz “Asturias”, giving us, his rapt audience, a chance to catch our breath.

Post-intermission he opened with Five Preludes; a guitar piece written by Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos. The piece is subtitled "Homenagem à vida social" (Homage to Social Life). It is in the key of D major, and is the second of the Five Preludes, written in 1940. It was first performed, together with its four companions, by Abel Carlevaro in Montevideo in December 1942. This prelude evokes the waltzes danced by the upper classes of Rio de Janeiro in a bygone age.

Then came his Beatles tribute. He played Lennon/McCartney’s “Blackbird” (arr. Sergio Assad) and “Yesterday” (arr. Takemitsu) and Harrison’s “While my guitar gently weeps” (arr. Sergio Assad) from his 2016 “Blackbird: The Beatles Album.” It was glorious.

He finished with Mathias Duplessy’s “Cavalcade”.

My advice? Don’t ever miss a chance to hear Miloš play his guitar (he plays a 2007 Greg Smallman). If you haven’t yet been to a performance at The Ozawa Hall, go soon if you can. The season is short.