Michelle Parker

Favorite Performances

April 1, 2014 07:06

I was thinking last night about how much I'd love to get back to Symphony Center (or Ravinia - almost there!) and see another CSO concert - the last one I've seen was nearly two years ago, and I'm itching to see some top-notch classical playing, and soon. When I last saw them, I had the fortune of happening upon a violinist of whom I had surprisingly not yet learned: Gil Shaham.

Gil ShahamHaving been "out of the loop" for a while, so to speak, what a welcome, fantastic discovery! He performed the Walton violin concerto, another major concerto that I've never even opened (ahhh that list is becoming more impressive the older I get), and what an astonishing job he did; I'm sure the almost otherworldly tone quality of his 1699 "Countess Polignac" Stradivarius helped, but his phrasing was just phenomenal: the pianos were rife with a tension that had me leaning forward in my chair, and each phrase was presented with such an intimate delicacy that it felt as if the audience were intruding on a private conversation between him and his (incredible) violin. With the backing of the CSO the performance was simply spectacular, and it ultimately reminded me why the sumptuous, lush 1930s concertos seem to have such staying power.

So, that got me thinking (a dangerous past time; I know): some performances will always stick out in my mind, whether it be an entire concert program or just one piece, no matter how long ago I saw them. Because I love talking to fellow violinists, what are your favorite performances you've ever seen?

(It doesn't have to necessarily be classical, by the way; Roger Waters' performance of Pink Floyd's The Wall at Chicago's Wrigley Field will always be hands-down the coolest thing I have ever seen live...though musically speaking, his Dark Side of the Moon tour from about five years prior was simply phenomenal, and far superior)

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Previous entries: March 2014

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