Watching several videos on a Vengerov fan site (hosted by Georgina),
I was somewhat disturbed by the aggressiveness of some of Maxim´s interpretations. In particular, the G string phrase of Lalo's Symphonie Espagnole (1st movement)
was quite painful, as was the beginning of his Tzigane.
Is this unfair?
Then, at the bottom of the same page, there is a master class with Philipp Schoettle, who is playing Ysaye's Sonata N°3.
Maxim tells him to play a crescendo as if it were a punch. He suggests to him that he imagine he is in a boxing match and, a la Rocky, deliver a "blow" with this upstroke. Poor Philipp tries, but it is not macho enough for Maxim. Philipp goes on, producing more scratch than anything else. Is this what music is supposed to be?
Looking at the videos, which span his life from childhood on, one sees that the facial expressions some posters here have made fun of were basically the same since he was a kid. Apparently, nobody told him to repress that, and I would agree. Personally, I couldn't care less about a player's facial expressions, although I understand those who dislike them for being unnecessary and distracting.
However, the videos also show that Maxim has been building his physique, possibly even body building. This may reflect on his playing style, and it reminds me somewhat of what Jose Carreras did, changing his tone production to be able to sing louder and louder.
I would like to know if others here agree/disagree. I like Maxim's Shostakovich and the intensity of his "squelched" tone very much, but I wanted to share these misgivings. It would be a pity if he ended up as the Rambo of the violin.
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