By Dave Read (August 21, 2022 concert) – The Violin Concerto No. 1, in G minor, Opus 26, composed by Max Bruch in 1866, was given a tearfully beautiful performance by Itzhak Perlman at Tanglewood, with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the artful direction of Dima Slobodeniouk.
Thus, we have the work of a German, played by a Jew, with tempo set by a Russian – thus, we understand the epitaph on Bruck’s tombstone:
“Music is the Language of God.”
(Politics, then, must be the Babel of Humanity)
Mr. Perlman, born in 1945 in British Palestine, first appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1958, then shared the bill on the same show seven years later with the Rolling Stones! He is the first virtuoso I heard in person, several decades ago, when he played the Violin Concerto in D Minor of Jean Sibelius, with the Springfield Symphony. Such is the thrill of great music when performed by a great musician – it is everlasting.
What a fascination it is to see what you see at such a concert, all the equipment, and furniture, and people in similar costumes (most masked today), and all the implements, the instruments, all the beating, blowing, and bowing the score calls for, cohere into a thing the ear tells the tongue to say is pure and rich as honey.
After a fist-bump with the first violin, Mr. Perlman left the stage to waves of applause from the audience, on their feet in the Shed and across the vast lawn, where another blissful Sunday afternoon was enjoyed.
Then, Maestro Slobodeniouk led his charges through a thrilling reading of the Brahms Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Opus 68 to conclude the program, which had begun with a brief entertainment named subito con forza (suddenly with force) by the young Korean composer, Unsuk Chin.
Although it may be a case of anticipatory hearing, I’m sure I heard Beethoven several times during the BSO’s performance of Brahms. With Beethoven’s Ninth on the bill here next week, is it any wonder?