Lockdown may have exiled performers to basements and bathrooms, but in an effort to "play on," venue changes haven’t stopped them. Musicians continue to find clever, creative ways to express themselves and share their music with us — simply refusing to let the music stop.
This week we feature a superstar piano trio playing Mendelssohn (glorious), a cellist who plays standing up (I’m not kidding), a violist concertizing in his basement (in full black tie), a conductor reading poetry (it took a lockdown), a one-man orchestra (playing Stravinsky, no less), and two violinists playing video game music (one good reason to let your kids play Nintendo). Don’t miss two renditions of Bach transcriptions — one by a multi-talented bass player who tackles three instruments and the other by a gifted solo violist.
Violinist Joshua Bell, cellist Steve Isserlis, and pianist Jeremy Denk perform the "Andante" from Felix Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No. 1, Opus 49. (Proof that Mendelssohn truly wrote some of the most beautiful melodies ever.)
For those of you who had/have kids who play the Super Mario Brothers video games (or play them yourself), you’ll enjoy violinists Julian Rhee and Sirena Huang demonstrating the techniques behind the jumps, dives, falls, and triumphs of the characters. (Don’t miss Julian on FIddler's Favorite Recipes preparing Jjajangmyeon.)
Cellist Mike Block, of Yo-Yo Ma’s famed Silk Road Ensemble, gives us Bach in the Bathroom, specifically, J.S. Bach’s "Allemande" No. 6. (I guess I’m glad he’s standing given the only other seating option in there would be….)
V.com contributor, stand-up comic, and violist Scott Slapin gives us a comprehensive history of the viola. Best part: He accomplishes this historic feat in under 10 minutes. (His subtitles are helpful and hilarious.)
Pasadena Symphony & Pops Conductor David Lockington puts down his baton, picks up his pen, and brings us an enchanted reading of his original poem, “Music contains the mysteries.” (Audible Books, take note!)
Michael Brook, Boulder Bach Festival violist, offers a spectacularly beautiful in-home performance of the "Largo" from J. S. Bach’s Sonata No. 3 in C Major, transcribed from violin. This is part of BBF's Music Meditations: Solace Series. (Just to digress, one of the wonderful byproducts of searching for clips is stumbling over an artist such as Michael. I adore his sound, his sensitivity, and his honest approach.)
Colorado Symphony Principal Bass Steve Metcalf plays the "Aria" from J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations in a one-man, three instrument arrangement for mandolin, guitar, and bass. (If this were a paying gig, I think it officially counts as a triple!)
For our grand finale, conductor and violinist Carlos Ocaña offers up a one-violin orchestra version of Igor Stravinsky’s "The Rite of Spring, Worshipping the Earth." He literally played and recorded every voice. (Bravo, Carlos!)
With symphony performances almost universally on hiatus, we've put "The Week in Reviews" on hold and instead bring you this roundup of online "lockdown" performances. If you’d like to share links of performances you’ve enjoyed, please do so in the comments or e-mail me for possible inclusion in a later opus.
You might also like:
This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.
Violinist.com is made possible by...
Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.