Friday 4 June 2004

Death and the first violin

When one walks in a forest, it’s the tallness or the largeness of a particular tree that attracts one's attention, if it has enough room to be visible and stand out. Distance is needed anyway.
A soloist stands out when he performs with an orchestra, if you have the means and the charisma to be one.
The problem arises when one plays chamber music. I’ve witnessed a shining example of a tree trying to be taller than the others on that concert given by the Küchl Quartet.
The music program was appealing: Schubert’s Der Tod und das Mädchen, and Dvořák.
What really spoiled my pleasure was the first violin who obviously was the founder of that quartet which, unsurprisingly bears his name. Whatever he had to play, he played it louder than the others, regardless of the importance of the phrase. It was the first time that any musical instrument produced such an unpleasant effect on me. His sounds were like stabs of a sword dipped in acid. It’s really a shame when music is merely an excuse for a battle of ego.
Simon was more cunning: he managed to sneak in the big hall, while his two friends from Switzerland Aline, Henri and I sat through the whole concert with the Küchl Quartet. Aline seemed delighted. At least the evening wasn't totally spoiled!

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