Saturday, September 12, 2009

Tough love

Last night I heard this overwhelming recital by the violinist Elmar Oliveira. That is a picture of Mr. Oliveira above. He plays the way he looks, I will tell you that!


Oliveira did the Strauss violin sonata which is a piece I love. I mean, Richard Strauss. He looks in pictures like a piece of old furniture.

Well, here is a picture of him with what almost amounts to an Afro. I have never seen this picture before, what are the odds of that?

People sometimes describe Richard Strauss as "bourgeois" and I can see why. I mean, look at him. He was quiet and German and Catholic and happily married to a wife who bossed him around all the time.

Then this music comes out of him.

I mean, this is not just normally romantic music. It is delirious and listening to it you cannot help but wonder.

You have to wonder what people thought when they heard that music back when Richard Strauss was among us. I wonder if anyone said to him: "Oh! Mr. Strauss!"

I personally would have blushed when I saw him.

Here is the movement of the Strauss sonata that got me. This is a beautiful sonata. It is the sonata Jascha Heifetz went to bat for in Israel. They did not want him to play it because of the bitterness over World War II but he played it anyway, even though the audiences would not applaud. Finally he got beat up for it. These thugs beat him up. That is a terrible thing to think about.

Leonard Pennario told me all about Heifetz and from what I understand he could be a pain but he was in his own way a man of principle.

I wish I could find a recording by Oliveira or Heifetz but this is the best I could find on YouTube. This violinist Sayaka Shoji does a good job but Oliveira, he just dug into it with so much more passion.

After lastnight maybe they will all sound like weenies.

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