Music, alongside science, constitutes perhaps the only languages universally acknowledged — from the tribes of the Kalahari, away from modern society, to high Paris, the very centre of it. When it touches you, you know; when it does not, hoping it will is only futile. And I am lucky to be among those touched.
Last evening I spent over two hours at a concert listening to Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Massenet, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov and Piazollo. And it was blissful; it was wholesome; it was rich; it was classic; and it was refreshing.
Copyright: Stiftung Podium Junger Musiker
The players at our concert series were Rasa Zukauskaite and Natalia Kapilova. Rudolf Kammermeier was supposed to play the grand piano, but after he was requested back in Germany, Ms Kapilova had to fill in for him.
Ms Zukauskaite was a student of Prof Raben Schalag and is now part of the quartet, Infinitum, as well as the Lithuanian State Orchestra. It was simply a pleasure listening to her, watching the bow move and fingers vibrate in a feverish rise and fall.
Ms Kapilova’s relationship with the piano was clearly otherworldly. A sense of peaceful elegance injected with gusto pierced the air with every depression of the keys and press of the una cordia and sostenuto pedals. A warm echo swept the room and everybody could keep listening to all day long.
They have not the capacity to make their works exalt — they meditate, protest, analyze, reason, calculate, brood, but they do not exalt.
— Sergei Rachmaninoff
We started off with Ms Kapilova’s solo rendering of Beethoven’s Sonata in D Major for piano, Op. 12 No. 1. It was divine. The movements were played with a stallion-like elegance and reverberated through the walls. (And the acoustics of the place certainly helped.)
The piece that followed was played as a violin solo: the famous 2nd partita in D Minor, composed by Johann Sebastian Bach.
The third and final piece of the first session was a warm rendering of Mozart’s Sonata in G Major, K. 301. I managed to sneak a brief video (and, in my defense, so did about half of them present) and you can watch it further down the page. Mozart was played, aptly, under bare candle lights. The room was beautiful, the soulful music even more so. The violin ebbed with the composition as the piano provided a uniform, pleasing backdrop; and the instruments occasionally switched places in one of Mozart’s landmark works.
Having listened to music for a good hour or more, we took a brief rest for about 12 minutes. While we were all thoroughly enjoying ourselves, Beethoven and Bach and Mozart can cause a sweat like an athlete running a half marathon.
Ms Zukhauskaite (L) and Ms Kapilova (R) at the concert, having just played Mozart’s Sonata in G Major
We began our second session with Tchaikovsky’s Melodie. We were not clearly informed which of the so-called melodies we would be listening to, but once the grand piano went in the familiar one-two-three-one, one-two-three-one rhythm and the violin’s eight note motif floated through the air, I was convinced it had to be the serene Op. 42, no. 3.
And now, we came to the part of the concert I had (I confess) been waiting for all these days. It was my favourite on the playlist for the evening, and well nigh one of my favourite classical pieces ever; as our host himself stated it, very few had listened to it being performed live and, yes, I was lucky; I was lucky and excited enough to put away my phone, not shoot a photograph or video, shut my eyes and lend my ears to the music arising before me, like wind whistling through Oak. This piece is so beautiful, I need hardly say more than its title: Jules Massenet’s Thais meditation.
Now we break off for a minute as I give you the video I talked about earlier:
It’s stunning how just half a minute of that music can transport you to a whole new world!
The third piece was an equally stunning, solo piano work, thundering through the walls: Sergei Rachmaninov’s eerily beautiful Musical moment no. 4. If you hear this live, you will want to pay the musicians double and have them play it all over again.
Finally, listening to another Rachmnaninov, Vocalise Op. 34 no. 14, we moved onto slightly more modern times. The last piece of the day, the final sounds of the concert were the 20th century Argentinian classical composer, Astor Piazollo’s, Adiós, Nonino.
Meaning “Farewell, grandad” this piece is tango-infused classical music and one of Piazollo’s best known works, written in memory of his father days after his father’s passing. I had heard to this piece before but never wholly on violin accompanied by the piano and this take was refreshing, clean and heartily lovable.
It sounded no different than the version played at King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima Zorreguieta’s wedding.
A lasting effect
The concert was refreshing; but no words can truly some up such fine music. And it was wonderful to be entertained by two talented musicians from halfway around the world. In a way, anybody who had a musical eye (or hand) would most certainly have found a new spirit of creating after last night’s concert.
When I spoke to the musicians, their humour and charm and infectious enthusiasm was vibrating around them just as the walls and the panes and the door frames had been since the past hours. And, to me, one thing was clear: music, like physics, can make better men of us all.
To-morrow, I resume my affairs in bettering my vibrato. The day after, I hope to do it again.