before a little about music I would like to propose a vague sociological experiment.
What would happen if everyone on this site wrote an open letter to Apple on their Facebook, Twitter and Tweet accounts that read:
please could you donate 50 million dollars to the Philippines Red Cross.
I wonder if everyone could be encouraged to do it to such an extent that Mac would have to respond?
In the meantime, I find myself very much in an Isaac stern phase. When you ask people to name the great violinists of history Stern (also Perlman perhaps) never really makes it into the top five (arbitrary figure) and yet on the evidence of his recordings for many people that really is where he belongs. As a youngster I was hooked on Heifetz for years and although Oistrakh eventually opened up my ears to the rest of the world I think my teenage hormones may have caused me to miss the slightly less individualistic magic of Stern. From sheer apathy is remained in this state most of my life but some years back I clicked on stern playinga Mozart sonata on you tube which just blew me away.
I just sat and reran it over and over. What makes it so great?
We'll recently I showed it to a knowledgeable amateur musiCain and she expressed surprise, saying that she didn't associate Mozart with that kind of sound or intensity. That is probably true, but to my ears Mozart played with Sterns modern deep, expressive sound and truly honest Mozart phrasing, breathe and élan is just mind blowing. My friend loved it too. Go take a listen....
Then I switched to an agreeing Stern playing the Franck.
Frankly (!) I don't like many versions of this piece. It's hard to pull off without being hyper romantic yet many players sound over the top as a result. Underplay it and it's just a boring piano sonata. Stern is incredible. All the rubato works, the passion he expresses and so on is out of this world.
Another one for much study. Then I tried his Sibelius recording at age 31.
Is his meaty sound good for expressing icy arctic tundra?
I had my doubts at first but eventually the majesty of his interpretation convinced me he knew how to play this piece. After that I returned to some legendary performances such as Neveu and found them well ,just a little dull in comparison.
It all reminds me we should just keep exploring new players and new sounds.
Also trying to remember how lucky we are to be able to do this. We have so many luxuries when so many have nothing,
This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.