August 2007

Sometimes contemporary is synonymous with scary.

August 13, 2007 07:45

BEIJING, CHINA—Imagine this. You’re sitting in the Forbidden City Concert Hall, seconds from hearing the finale of final concert given by the Great Wall International Music Academy. Your brain is wandering back to the first item on the program, the Romanian Folk Dances, played not by violin and piano but by orchestra. Oh how wonderful it was! Suddenly, applause interrupts your thoughts. You glance up from your seat in the front rows just in time to see the conductor, none other than Kurt Sassmannhaus himself, walk on stage. Next to him is Li Chuan Yun, the final soloist of the night. On the program is a piece by Piazzolla, a piece you’ve never heard before. You watch with anticipation as the orchestra gets ready, the conductor raises his arms, and the soloist lifts his instrument up. You close your eyes, bracing yourself for the moment…And then--- SCREECH! Within a second, your eyes are wide open. Surely, that wasn’t the sound of a bow scratching the wrong side of the bridge? Did something go wrong? But it continues… Screech, scratch, screech. Oh dear. You grip the arms of your seat tightly as the entire orchestra joins in, playing with the bow behind the bridge.

What a piece. What a piece. Skillful playing, but what a piece.

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