Gilles Apap: Sarasate Gypsy Airs

January 17, 2013 at 03:47 PM · Needs no words:

Replies (31)

January 17, 2013 at 04:21 PM · I saw this before, but it is so awesome! Especially the slides in the last part! He really knows his instrument!

January 17, 2013 at 06:04 PM · Gilles Apap -- you either love him or hate him. For me, this reconfirms my conviction that Gilles Apap is the ultimate exemplar of creative violin artistry. He is a model and an inspiration for all those who have the courage to give voice to their uniqueness.

January 19, 2013 at 01:30 AM · You know what actually "tops" Apap:

January 20, 2013 at 02:59 AM · takes a lot of.... guts... and skill to play like they play!

January 20, 2013 at 04:35 AM · Gilles Apap gave a concert in Portland last year. Afterwards I asked him how I could learn to play like him. He said, "Listen for the bass line. And always sing."

Pretty good advice.

January 20, 2013 at 04:36 AM · Thanks, Terry, for the link to Gilles and Roby. What a pair! and What an ensemble! Of course it's not quite appropriate in the context of a Mozart Concerto. But what the Hell! When you're at that level of creativity and virtuosity you make your own rules!!

January 20, 2013 at 04:43 AM · I agree! Crazy, fun, and why not!

January 21, 2013 at 09:44 PM · To add to the craziness... (It's worth sticking with it for a while)

January 22, 2013 at 01:34 PM · Wow! A professional whistler. I've never seen that before! While I prefer the original Zigeunerweisen, he is certainly incredible.

January 22, 2013 at 08:38 PM ·

Can one of you please tell me what piece is this? It sounds very jewish, maybe achron? I think its written in the end, but in chinese ;) thank in advance

January 22, 2013 at 09:19 PM · It's hard for me to tell what Chuanyun Li is playing. His intonation, is kind of all over the place most of the time.

January 22, 2013 at 10:12 PM · haha, hes sliding alot and sometimes its a bit.. ok, but if you would know the piece you would recognise right?

January 22, 2013 at 11:51 PM · Sorry I do not know this piece. :)

January 23, 2013 at 12:15 AM · The lively acoustics of the room ruined it for me.

January 23, 2013 at 05:36 AM · Li plays freely and looks like he's having fun and is connecting with the audience. More musicians should connect with their audiences like he does. If he misses a few notes in the process I can live with it.

January 23, 2013 at 09:53 AM · Yes me too. Also his intonation is pretty clear except of one or two places, he just playes it some kind of gypsy style. I am curious, if someone can tell me the name of the piece still!?

January 23, 2013 at 02:56 PM · 'Li plays freely and looks like he's having fun and is connecting with the audience. More musicians should connect with their audiences like he does. If he misses a few notes in the process I can live with it.'

There are plenty of fine players in the world, who don't miss a ton of notes, who play in tune, and show a level of humility and respect for the music they play (which Li does not in my opinion) that connect with audiences just fine..

January 23, 2013 at 04:23 PM · I think he does just fine. I cannot listen to him always, but everybody sounding the same is even worse.

Plus I think he has deeper understanding and therefore respect for the music he plays as we can imagine. Otherwise he couldn't be that free with the material. In my opinion he can play however he wants, if some conservative minds dislike, why bother? He is not insulting anyone, he is a show person, but a quite good one. He has the technique of a world class violinist but decided to play different. He is not made to play 0815 standard, he has way too much temperament and playfulness. I cheer for him, because I am bored of most violinists today too. I anyways prefer the dead ones, who played much more like Li, they improvised, made humorous changes and had freedom of everything, also intonation ;) And lets just face, that li's intonation is superior to all of us and if he would chose to play in form and standard he possibly would practice different and play everything in order. But he definetely is up to something else.

He is to me also especially refreshing, because he is not even afraid of sounding scratchy or funny at moments. He just goes to the limit of sounds on the violin and trys to find new things.

January 23, 2013 at 04:50 PM · I completely agree Simon. There are simply too many cookie cutter violinists out there.

Classical music concerts should go back to the way they used to be, where they were attended by young people, where people used to cheer on their favorite stars. Li's (and Gilles Apap and Roby Lakatos) approach is a step towards that direction. If it's a little over the top at times, again, I can live with it.

See "The awfulness of classical music" below

Richard Dare Brooklyn Philharmonic CEO

January 23, 2013 at 06:15 PM · Simon that video is hilarious. Especially the "look ma no hands" on the open G. I was ROTFL.

Now I'll tell you why I think we tire of things like "Gypsy Airs." It's because it's really not great music, so it doesn't retain any freshness after several hearings. It's a violin show-off piece and a rite of passage for students, most of whom are playing "Gypsy Errors" instead. To play this piece requires certainly technique well beyond mine, but hardly any musical sophistication. I wouldn't trade the Bach D-Minor Chaconne or the Franck Sonata for all of the music of Pablo Sarasate combined. So from that point of view I'm perfectly happy to see Li The Clown perform this fabled selection from the violin repertoire.

January 23, 2013 at 07:49 PM · thats how i see it too. Li mostly performs virtuosic showpieces, so it is for the showing off, not for the deep sophisticated music. There is actually a video of him playing the beethoven concerto. Unfortunately with a bad orchestra. He is surely more serious there.

I personally like the Zigeunerweisen and play it myself right now. Its special music, therefor it has its place. I try not to rate music too much. Its better to enjoy

January 23, 2013 at 09:40 PM · Paul, then let's forget all those superficial showpieces for one moment:

January 23, 2013 at 09:40 PM · Good point Paul.

January 23, 2013 at 09:45 PM · The piece can be played with great elegance too, but it's simply not among my favorite pieces.

Here is Sarah Chang:

January 23, 2013 at 09:51 PM · Mathias, fantastic! I loved it.

I see he took off all four of his wrist watches and he did not have so many girls around while playing the Bach, but his hair was still perfect and just the right amount of five o'clock shadow. Well I guess if you can play the violin like that and if you have those kind of looks then you can do whatever you like. If the women can pose for their photos, sprawled out on sofas and such, then why not the men too.

Sarah Chang is still prettier. :)

January 23, 2013 at 10:41 PM · When you're playing a showpiece, it should be showy. I don't want to listen to another perfectly executed Sarasate. It's boring. I think this was an appropriate pose for the piece he was playing. Obviously, i wouldn't want to hear Beethoven played like this.

Or Bach played like Garret. Ever. For the record, I'm not bashing because I'm jealous of Garret's talent. I'm jealous of his hair. How does he get that touchable hold?

January 23, 2013 at 10:58 PM · he's obviously not a typical violinist, i would say he's not a classical violinist (though he can be one when he wants) and most standard repertoire is not 'his thing' (unless he modifies it), but I would also say he is one of the biggest talents of the last few decades.

certainly the biggest talent to ever come from asia. i can also imagine that he a sort of reincarnation of spirit of the virtuosos of the 19th century. judging him the way you would judge a traditional classical violinist of the past 100 years is a bit pointless. like judging a ferrari on its fuel economy.

March 23, 2013 at 05:07 AM · Simon - That piece is Sunshine on? Tashkurgan by the composer Gang Chen and was written in the mid 70's.

March 23, 2013 at 05:51 PM · thank you very much!

March 23, 2013 at 07:25 PM · You are very welcome :)

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