I had a musical weekend, of my own making at home. I played for two and a half hours each day on Sunday and Monday, and I watched a couple of videos I want to share.
The first is Ray Chen playing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto, a fun, worthy performance. He’s extremely engaged with the audience and his interpretation has more whimsy embedded in it than most performances of the work I’ve seen. He’s a fellow Suzuki kid – Wikipedia reports he began at age four and had completed Book Ten (which I know to be Mozart’s Violin Concerto #5) by the age of 9. He’s 26 now, and he has the 1702 Lord Newlands Stradivarius on loan from the Nippon Music Foundation.
The other video is a production of the Library of Congress, a wonderful American institution. The Library of Congress happens to have a one-of-a-kind collection of violins from the golden age of Italian violin making, the 16th through early 18th centuries. Noted violinist and scholar Peter Skaerved hosts the video, wherein he walks us through some of the differences between the great makers, and talks a little about what makes these instruments so unique. He speaks of the development of bows over time, and discusses the ways the instruments were created to be played. I learned quite a bit.
The Library of Congress’ Youtube page includes a biography for Skaerved: “Peter Sheppard Skaerved is an award-winning British violinist. He is the dedicatee of over two hundred works for solo violin, by composers such as George Rochberg, Judith Weir and Hans Werner Henze. He is the only British violinist to have been invited to play Paganini’s violin “il Cannone” more than once (five times in total). He has performed at the Library of Congress’ Coolidge Auditorium and is the Viotti Lecturer in Performance Studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London.”
He’s a fine, fun lecturer indeed.
Thanks for reading.