Venue: National Concert Hall, Taipei
Performers: Julia Fischer (violin), Martin Helmchen (piano)
Program: (in the order of performance)
|Antonín Dvořák||1841-1904||The Sonatina in G major for violin and piano, Op. 100, B. 183||1893|
|Franz Schubert||1797-1828||Violin Sonata in g minor 'Sonatina', D408 (and here)||1816|
|Franz Schubert||1797-1828||Violin Sonata in D major 'Sonatina', D384 (and here)||1816|
|Johannes Brahms||1833-1897||Violin Sonata No. 3 in D minor, Op. 108||1878-1888|
|Dvořák||Complete Sonatina in G||Aron Vacha, violin and Tomas Svoboda, piano|
|Schubert||Complete Violin Sonatina, D408||Szymon Goldberg, violin and Radu Lupu, piano|
|Schubert||Complete Violin Sonatina, D384||Szymon Goldberg, violin and Radu Lupu, piano|
|Brahms||Violin Sonata No. 3 in D||Itzhak Perlman, violin Vladimir Ashkenazy, piano|
Scherzo from F-A-E sonata
Hungarian Dance for piano 4-hand, No. 5
|Alfons und Aloys Kontarsky|
Taipei is the last stop of Julia Fischer's Asian Recital Tour with Martin Helmchen. They play Dvorák, Brahms and Schubert at different concert places: the tour starts on October 15 at Tokyo Opera City, then follow Toppan Arts Hall Tokyo, Shanghai Oriental Art Center, Shenzhen Concert Hall, Seoul Arts Center, Hong Kong City Hall and finally Taipei National Concert Hall.
Ms. Fischer, at 33, has been a professor at the Hochschule für Musik in Frankfurt for 10 years. This is my first music hall encounter with Julia Fischer, who has been billed as a young "violin superstar". She was named the Best Newcomer in 2006 BBC Music Magazine Awards and the prestigious The Classic FM Gramophone Awards Artist of the Year in 2007. The frivolous title of superstar suggests that she must be a violin virtuoso, but she is more. Julia Fischer is a great musician.
And this was an great concert. It was exciting to hear a violinist with such impeccable command on her instrument: the bow movement, tone production, and rhythmic precision were just about perfect. Among living violinists, she reminds me of a somewhat rare mix of Christian Tetzlaff, Leila Josefowicz and Hilary Hahn, although during the concert I was thinking more of Arthur Grumiaux for the combination of precision of the left hand and flexible and straight bow movement on the right hand.
Make no mistake, however. This was a concert of duo between a violinist and a pianist, and the audience was lucky to have a worthy pianist in Martin Helmchen.(*) Some pieces emphasize on one instrument and others on the other. It took two real musicians to pull off such a wonderful concert, which had the Brahms as the center-piece (in my opinion). They matched each other's every step in their individual interpretation of this familiar piece. The concert concluded with the hair-raising Presto agitato movement, exemplarily executed and boldly interpreted.
For the encores, Fischer and Helmchen appropriately chose Brahms's Scherzo from the F-A-E sonata, which was originally designed to be a collaborative work between Robert Schumann, his pupil Albert Dietrich and Brahms. For the second encore, Fischer put down the violin and played Brahms's Hungarian Dance No. 5 for piano four hand with Helmchen. We are reminded that Ms. Fischer is billed as a violinist and a pianist.
This was a memorable concert and I have learned a thing or two. More Ms. Fischer, please!
(*) Unfortunately, it is hard for top violinists to find equal partners in pianists for concert tours, since pianists of such stature often prefer to tour as soloists.