Ida Haendal recital

October 12, 2005 at 04:52 PM · Yesterday I attended Ida Haendal playing a recital. The lady next to me emitted some type of foul odor which was very hard to ignore. I moved to the other side of the auditorium at intermission.

Ms. Haendal came out in a flamboyant dress, typical of her style. What always amazes me is her small stature and apparent frailty when holding the violin... of course hearing her play dispells any of such notion.

She played Franck, which I seem to hear at 90% of the recitals played today. It was beautiful, and had the type of tonal and vibrato quality that you never hear anymore. Her shifts were gorgeous, and in some places (like the octaves in the last movement), completely knocked our socks off.

Then she played the Ciaconna, which was amazing. It reminds me of Szeryng, but not totally the same style. She kept the audience very engaged throughout.

After intermission she played a forgetable Mozart sonata. Her playing as always was of another world, I just didn't care for this piece. After she played a few showpieces... a bunch of Bartok dances and then the Wieniawski D+ polonaise. She plays this style so convincingly. The gypsy music and the more aristocratic polonaise are just incredible.

Every violinist in the audience was at once dazzled and completely embarrased that such an old lady could throw that stuff off like it was "Happy Birthday"... Haendal definately isn't one to show off, but in her old age she certainly isn't one to go soft on repertoire. That part in the polonaise that everyone dreads was played so impressively that I almost went home and practiced my thirds at 10:30 at night...

As an encore she dedicated a Bruch piece (I didn't recognize it, and I didn't hear her well enough to remember the name) to the slain reporter, Daniel Pearl of the Washington Post, who was of course assassinated on video tape. Ms. Haendal also added some thoughtful commentary which I always enjoy. Her ideas are well developed and she always speaks clearly, unlike another gentleman earlier in the evening who launched into a longwinded and entirely superfluous oration about world peace that ended up just being some big non-sequitor... I wish people would prepare their comments if they don't posess the talents of public speaking of a Winston Churchill or the like.

It was a great concert, and I feel priviledged to have seen a master perform. She really is one of the last from the "golden age" of violin playing, and in her old age I would put her playing on par or well past that of many other masters in their twilight years.

Replies (11)

October 12, 2005 at 04:59 PM · Bravo your review, and Bravo Ida Haendel.

October 12, 2005 at 05:28 PM · ack, ack, ack! I wanted to go to that, but I had orchestra rehearsal & sectionals last night. Grrr.

October 13, 2005 at 03:22 AM · I had a million other things that in the short term would have been far more wise to go to... I desperately need to get moving on this Martinu trio thing, had a dire need for studying for this jazz history exam, and really really needed to finish up on my prokofiev...

However, my teacher (when we were told about this concert) said how sorry he was that he never went to see Heifitz. When faced with opportunities like these, one makes excuses and reasons to be in attendance. Of course I'm not telling you that you should have blown off rehersal, however these things don't come up often. Great talents like Ms. Haendal are a finite resource, and I just know that I would have kicked myself for not going.

Hell, I left half way through James Ehnes's last recital because of someone breathing very heavily behind me, and I missed out on Intro and Tarantella... obviously it was played with stupifiying perfection, and I missed out. That's one of the many lessons I've learned about not missing opportunities...

October 13, 2005 at 01:03 PM · Yup, the Intro & Tarantella was unbelievable...but I can relate to your frustrations, between the cellophane-rattling bitties who seem to wrap everything in plastic bags, the snoozing grandfathers & everyone fighting off a cold, that LMMC crowd can be a noisy bunch.

October 13, 2005 at 04:52 PM · If you thought she was awesome, I'm sure you would enjoy seeing violinist Aaron Rosand in concert.

October 13, 2005 at 05:53 PM · I enjoy seeing just about any good violinist in concert... the only recital in my entire life that I didn't enjoy was by a living (and still quite young) violinist who is a superb player but I literally had to fight off sleep and later, insanity.

I'm sure I'd love to hear Mr. Rosand play.

October 13, 2005 at 06:29 PM · The Montreal Symphony has quite the line-up of violinists this ytear…. now if they could just get that pesky strike settled.

October 13, 2005 at 06:57 PM · Really? I live here and I don't even know.

Who is supposed to play? I am going to every concert.

October 13, 2005 at 07:02 PM · Good lord, I just looked up the first few months:

Leonidas Kavakos: Brahms

Maxim Vengerov: Shostakovich 1

Sarah Chang: Sibelius

Vadim Repin: Lalo

man I can't wait...

October 13, 2005 at 07:01 PM · Leonidas Kavakos

Sarah Chang

Vadim Repin

Maxim Vengerov

Ilya Gringolts

Hilary Hahn

Viktoria Mullova


October 13, 2005 at 07:15 PM · Mullova Rocks.

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