So, I got the opportunity to do something fun this month. I played with the Siskiyou Violins for the first time since I moved back from Georgia. It was just as fun as I remember it being before I left. I had a great time! There is something special about performing…a little thrill that you are sharing something you love with other people and perhaps they will become as excited about it as you are. Also, there were a couple of alumni that I shared the stage with at Carnegie Hall in 2005 that came back and played in this concert. We entertained ourselves quite a bit. I love to have my music learned so down pat that I can fool around with the other performers on stage. That’s the best! When you have a good time, your audience can relax and have a good time. Speaking of good time, the Britt Festival built a new Performance Garden stage. It was beautiful! Ah… and such a nice night too!
Dvorak, Symphony No. 9 “From the New World”
Violin Concerto, Sibelius: performed by Augustin Hadelich
Okay, I’ll admit it. I love violin concertos. I know, I’m probably a little biased but really, I think most people…even some die hard rock fans, like violin concertos. Violin is the closest sounding instrument to the human voice so people relate to it. In fact, on of my all time favorite violinists grew up listening to opera with her grandfather when she was young. And if anyone knows how to make a violin, sing, talk and especially weep, it is Nadja Salerno-Sonnenburg. I wonder if her grandfather even had a suspicion how listening to opera would affect Nadja’s playing.
As far as violin concertos go though, Sibelius knew what he was doing. The piece is enjoyable to listen to…effortless even. Sit back, relax and then…be impressed. And I was, as usual. Only this time I was impressed, not just because the cadenzas were played flawlessly, and what looked like effortlessly, but because the sound was so sweet.
I had read a couple of reviews about Augustin before I watched this performance and most of the reviews raved about his sweet sound. And oh, was it. From frog to tip, consistently smooth and sweet. Even when dynamic level increased or tempo, Augustin was consistent with that make-you-long-for-more beauty.
And humble! Augustin had an interview with Don Matthews, Classical Music Director at Jefferson Public Radio before the concert. He was so personable, well spoken, down to earth and just plain humble. When a question of “prodigy” came up Augustin handled it like a pro. I wish I had taken notes but if my memory serves me correctly, he said something to the effect of most performers cringing at the word because it downplays all the hard work and effort it takes to be a performer. I only wish I had gotten to shake his hand and thank him for just being a normal guy though he’s a phenomenal performer.
Good times. I look forward to playing at Britt again soon! Hope you are there too!