Music Critic | In front of this viola, many violinists may be ashamed_Skill_Recital_Works

Original title: Music Critic | In front of this viola, many violinists might be ashamed

Faced with such a performance, many violinists should be ashamed, this is not to attract attention. After listening to viola player Median’s recital at the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra concert hall on September 6, 2022, the performance gave me the most intuitive feeling.

Some time ago, Mediyan was the talk of the land when he was chosen as principal viola by the Berlin Philharmonic. Not only is he the first Chinese musician to enter the Berlin Philharmonic, but he has also become the headmaster in one step, and domestic music fans are naturally very worried. In fact, Mediyan has previously become the principal viola of the Munich Philharmonic, and both orchestras are at the highest level, but the Berlin Philharmonic is more famous and has some unique meanings.

During Mediyan’s “Munich period”, he had already come to Shanghai to give a statement. It was very difficult to return to China in the post-epidemic period. But when the performer finally took the stage at the Shanghai Grand Theatre, I sighed that he was a “must hear” contemporary performer. At the moment, many people’s understanding of top bandleaders is still quite inadequate. It seems that they are the leader, but they are not yet soloists. In fact, a top-notch band leader not only needs to have soloist skills, but also needs to have a wide range of styles and profound cultivation.

Nowadays, the approach of the classical recording industry has also been changed by the fast-moving consumer culture, and many soloists who have emerged are not worthy of their name. But it is impossible to be a first class band leader, not to mention major powerhouses such as the Munich Philharmonic and the Berlin Philharmonic. Now that the performance market has just taken off, this is the second time Medyan has held a statement in Shanghai. Before that, he also played the concerto in the two opening performances of the new season. After listening to the recital, I once again felt that this is not only a world-class musician, but also an irreplaceable musician. “Level” is relatively measurable, but unique individuals cannot be repeated.

Why should many violinists be ashamed of Mediyan, the violinist? Because of the sophistication and taste that Mediyan shows in his performances that break through the limitations of the instrument and reveal some universals — aesthetics that apply to all string performances.

The violin is the most versatile instrument in the violin family. The cello and viola matured as solo instruments later than the violin, especially the viola. “Playing as flexibly as a violin” is one of the technical goals of a viola and cello solo. What Mediyan has done is a kind of transcendence: first of all, he gives full play to the performance of the viola, especially its unique and fascinating sound quality. The violinist’s beautiful string voice cannot be overshadowed by many famous predecessors who have already entered history. The singing lines thus outlined are an ideal combination of skill and high taste.

Although the viola has a beautiful timbre, it is easy to play a “sharp” sound, and it is more awkward to change the position than the violin and cello, and it is more difficult to control the pitch. This is the natural limitation of musical instruments, and in Mediyan’s hands, it seems that such limitations “do not exist”. That unique sound, which blends warmth and a certain quiet sound, has been refined by him to the highest contemporary sensual beauty. The timbre is so rich, and the sound quality is like a human voice; in a large concert hall, there is also a good transmission, and the texture will not be lost due to pushing the power up. The soft voice can also be transmitted long distance, which is not easy.

Although he did not choose brilliant repertoires as a whole, in some pieces, watching Mediyan’s left hand gallop on the fretboard and hearing his ideal pitch and clarity of notes, he could not but sigh that contemporary Among the violin soloists who are skilled in skills, there only a few can complete so many skills. From this, we can appreciate the second level of transcendence presented by Mediyan in his performance: breaking through the limitations of musical instruments with hard skills is just the beginning, how to use skills with taste to bring musical performance to a higher level, is the core his attention.

It is true that measurable skills such as intonation and clarity are still lacking in the treatment of “star” performers. But to really get to the top, improving skills and complementary tastes is the only way. And this, we need to combine the repertoire of Mediyan’s recital, and talk briefly about the details of the performance.

The arrangement of the repertoire of his recital is very wonderful. The first half is a viola arrangement of Shostakovich’s “Gadfly” suite (arranged by V. Borisovsky, a total of three movements), with Brahms’ “Gadfly” suite. Viola Sonata No. 2; the second half with a modern piece, “A Man’s Quartet” by Garth Knox, with a smaller romantic work, Viola York Bowen’s Sonata No. 1.

“One Man Quartet”

The traditional Russian lyric, with German-Austrian romantic classics, interesting new solo works, and old works that need to be rediscovered. Due to space limitations, I chose the most representative work to talk about, Lao Xiao’s piece.

In his first recital (Shanghai), Mediyan played an arrangement of Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, which is still fresh in his mind. Comparing the old Xiao this time, we will have a deeper understanding of his performance, where is the higher level? Both works, in their time, show a traditional style, especially when it comes to lyricism. The artistic characters of the two composers are completely different. Mediyan can grasp such deep differences, and then make detailed differences in performance.

In the first movement of “Gadfly”, the performer seems to want to make an independent division of the aesthetic qualities of each strand, and then unite them into an excellent whole. The richness of the bass strings fills the space of the concert hall, but there is no exaggerated “thickness”, and the high notes are thin and bright, but perfectly avoid the trap of “sharp” sound. Slim sound quality can also command large venues. In the second movement, Mediyang pushed the beauty of a lyrical melody to a contemporary climax.

Moreover, this is probably not only the peak level of the viola, but in the general string aesthetic system, the performance of such a lyrical melody can also represent today’s aesthetic height. Three things are important:

1. Shapes the character of the sound excellently. This movement has a lot of lyricism, a kind of dark depression color, but it always entangles every aspect of the music. Mediyan played a typical bel canto, the characteristics of which are completely set according to the work.

2. Merge sound quality. This in particular makes me feel that many violinists should be ashamed. Nowadays, the “on-off” vibrato has become the disease of the age, so many people do not understand that avoiding this disease does not mean that you have to massage it continuously, but massage it and ‘to not massage, varying levels and speeds of vibrato. . , there must be an overall aesthetic unity.

Expressing the repressed “chic” lyricism that accompanies this movement, Mediyang sometimes vibrates the strings very richly and movingly, and sometimes does not massage them at all, enhancing the emotion of some pieces with sharper acoustic shapes. But ultimately these very different techniques can be seamlessly integrated in tone and expression. The viola is more difficult to control than the violin, but some “stars”, not to mention taste, are also much less controllable than Mediyan. Faced with such a performance, they should be ashamed.

3. Structural performance and stylistic difference. To describe this movement with many long lines and complex situations, how the performer balances the lyric and the stability of the structure is a proof of self-handling. Mediyan freely pursues a certain golden ratio. When the density of emotional expression is almost impossible to add, the connection of the expressions is still so appropriate, and there is no exaggerated part of “sprinkling dog’s blood”. Of course, creating such a strong expression is inseparable from the performer’s extraordinary bow skills.

And when he puts it all together, we see “style”. The general lyricism in the last release was more of a sharp and sarcastic combination of rhythm, but this time Lao Xiao has presented the beauty in a sober, complex and indescribable emotion. These two types of beauty have a unique Russian temperament, which is completely different from the romance of Western Europe, but the difference between them is the most delicate thing, and it cannot be made big in play. It is this kind of stylistic difference that Mediyan’s performance is perfect, from the trivial test of technique to the macroscopic examination of the work.

Therefore, I would not be curious why this performer can express the mainstream lyricism of the German-Austrian Romantics so aptly and tastefully in a Brahms sonata. And how he moved from the expression of “interesting” to explore the artistic charm of performance in his new interesting contemporary works.Return to Sohu, see more


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