Today I went to Ida Kavafian and Peter Serkin's rehearsal of the program for their sold out concert next evening at the CMSLC. I arrived in the middle of the second movement of the Wolpe Sonata. “You swear you never have to play this in your life”, addressed Ms. Kavafian to the small audience, mainly composed of her students, after having torn the last note of the sonata. Given the brilliance with which she went through the work we - the audience - could only laugh politely. Then they went on with a quasi-beethovenian Schubert Grand Duo rendered with such intelligence and delicacy in the details.
During a well deserved break, Ms. Kavafian took a seat in the audience happy to see and talk with her students and friends, while in a corner, Mr. Serkin took pictures on his phone. After the break and playfully handing us the score, Ms. Kavafian played Nielsen’s Prelude and Theme with Variations. Then before even finishing the last note she turned to us: “isn’t a cool piece?” In fact that piece was cool…tough maybe but definitely cool! Waiting for Mr. Serkin to play the last piece on the program, she came once again sitting with us. “It’s like every time I play this piece there is something new that goes wrong”, she starts and gazing affectionately at everyone she adds: “but I don’t have to tell you that!”
Just before leading us in the bipolar meandering of Schumann, Mr. Serkin pulled-out his phone a last time at the speed of light to shoot a pic of his dear friend talking a last A. What I heard and saw at that rehearsal was certainly about as much fun as music can get: Peter and Ida rehearsing their concert program for students and friends. I finished this heart warming afternoon with lunch with Nikki Chooi, an outstanding violinist and Ms. Kavafian’s student for the past 7 years. “Wasn’t she good?” he asked. “Wasn’t she inspiring? What a woman, she is my role model!” Yes, indeed she is. And to that I would add what I overheard her husband say in the elevator…“gosh she sounded fantastic!”
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More entries: February 2014
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