Written by Heather Kurzbauer
Published: May 26, 2015 at 12:12 AM [UTC]
Blessed by a legacy of royal patronage, the affection borne towards the monarchy is repeated each evening as the audience stands and applauds the royals before the lights dim. Whether prince or pauper, the violin occupies the minds and hearts of a city where bartenders and hotel porters voice opinions concerning 'their' favorite contestants.
The contrast between the opening night candidates was difficult to ignore. While Tobias Feldmann seemed at home on stage, Wei was noticeably uncomfortable and although his technical level deserves kudos, he did not seem ready to take on the musical challenges of Shostakovich's monumental First Concerto. One might wonder why a 20 year old accomplished violinist who has not trained on the competition circuit would enter the Queen Elisabeth at this time. Nerves of steel and a solid routine of performance under pressure are basic for successful, communicative performances in the rarified atmosphere at the top.
Feldmann exuded confidence and unflappable nerves---after breaking a string at the very end of the first movement of Bartok's Second Concerto, he returned triumphantly to sing through the heat-wrenching Andante Tranquillo. A night to remember.
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