Leave it to Shriver Hall Concert Series to present not one but two top notch performers! The German violinist, Christian Tetzlaff was named “Instrumentalist of the Year” by Musical America in 2000, and Sir Simon Rattle has referred to the German pianist, Lars Vogt, as “one of the most extraordinary musicians of any age group that I have had the fortune to e associated with.” When they combined forces last Sunday evening for a program at Shriver Hall of Schumann and Bartok’s 1st Violin Sonatas, the 3rd Sonata by Brahms, and an encore of a Sonatina movement by Dvorak, it was a joy to watch their collaboration.
I had expected Tetzlaff’s sound (on his violin modeled after Guarneri del Gesu) to be sweeter, but maybe I have just become spoiled by the exceptionally beautiful tone of our own Baltimore native, Hilary Hahn. Vogt is vigorously—almost viscerally—engaged in his music making, complete with agile facial expressions and an energetic, almost flamboyant, physicality at the piano.
I’m writing a narrative timeline for the BSO’s centennial celebrations at the moment, and I was so amused by a review that I came across from 1916, which reads, in part, “… now that we have a symphony orchestra, we should acquire symphony manners. There were several persons near the writer who spoke audibly during the performance, and one of those familiar pests who always keep time with their feet to any rhythmic movement of the orchestra …” Shriver Hall audiences are generally very attentive, but there was one moment that caused some hilarity on Sunday. Between movements in the Brahms it seemed as if half the hall suddenly had a coughing fit—so much so that Vogt delayed starting the next movement with a smile at the audience, and Tetzlaff simulated a cough of his own. I love those moments that show the human side of these great musicians!