I attended a concert last week following a busy day at work. I had booked tickets to see Mr. Augustin Dumay months ago, having never having heard of him before.
Now at this point, I've already heard many violinists perform at Wigmore, including Julia Fischer, Nikolaj Znaider, Sergey Khachatryan, amongst others.
At risk of sounding like a spoiled child or an old-age man who just goes to these things, I've grown so accustomed to attending these recitals that at times I feel I'm sitting through a university lecture, forcing myself to stay awake and occasionally enjoying the discussion. The truth is that these recital programs are long and I tend to 'over think' the music, leading me to doze off. The warm atmosphere and nice plush chairs don't help.
I sat by myself and mentally prepared for a long night. I had booked a seat in the front row, hoping to catch and internalize every note played, just like a studious student would for every word during lecture. The recital was soon to begin and an old man who came by himself sat to my left. He was well dressed and reserved, and I couldn't help but wonder - what if he was a rich patron who owned a Strad? Was he a violin fanatic like myself? Should I strike up a conversation? No, my ego got the better of me and we both played it cool and mysterious while sitting in silence.
Then Mr. Dumay walked out. He came out looking slighlty tired, in seemingly oversized pants and a modern Mao suit. For whatever reason, I immediately had a flashback to my violin professor's modest and beat-up violin case. I revisited an old thought...that you don't need the best accessories or equipment to be a world class musician. In any case, the violin recital started and I found myself sitting on the edge of my chair for the rest of the concert. From the first to the last note, Mr. Dumay drew a silky, bel-canto-ish tone that reminded me a lot of violinists from an older era. Not a single harsh note was played throughout the night, even in the most intense sections of for example the Brahms Sonata - something I can say is rare among younger violinists of today.
I left the concert feeling relieved and forgetful of all my stress, worries, and unhappiness that I experienced during the day. I sound dramatic, but it's true. I felt blessed as I tried to re-live the musical moments that night. After heading home, I did more research and found out, not surprisingly, that Mr. Dumay had studied with some of the greats, including Nathan Milstein and Arthur Grumiaux. I also learned that he was playing on a Del Gesu formerly played on by Leonid Kogan.
Needless to say, this recital was one of the most memorable and exciting experiences I've ever had.
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