(You can view seven photos taken from the Shlomo Mintz performance last night here.)
Last night had me representing 20122 at the Sala Verdi del Conservatorio (the same venue as the Evgenij Kissin concerto from a few weeks ago) to hear violinista Shlomo Mintz interpret Mozart and Šostakovič, sponsored by Società del Quartetto di Milano.
Following a very enthusiastic article on Mintz in the Monday, November 27, 2006 print edition of Corriere della Sera, where the subline read: "Concerto: Il grande musicista russo domani in Conservatorio" (Translation: "The great Russian musician tomorrow at the Conservatorio"), I was determined to have myself a listen.
The article was somewhat intriguing, and briefly explored the fetish that Mintz had aquired of linking Mozart + butter. The headline reads, "Mintz: 'Per me Mozart e' un violino di burro'" (Translation: "Mintz says that to him, Mozart is a violin of butter"). hmmmm.
In the article, Mintz says that when playing Mozart, the tone is akin to the sensation of audio butter (if butter could replicate a sound). He says that when he was five-years-old, it was the first time he fell in love with Mozart, because it made his house sound like it was filled with butter. Mozart’s violins, to him, are the most round, full, and buttery sounds of all composers. (Ok Shlomo, I'm not sure where you're going with this one, but I'm willing to give it a try.) So I was off to search for some buttery-goodness...you know, winter is coming, and we've all got to stock-up on our precious oils.
Unfortunately, an ailing Dmitri Alexeev inexplicably cancelled accompaniment on piano, and they instead brought in a petit Hungarian pianista, Adrienne Krausz. Because of Alexeev’s absence, the dynamic was a bit strained, and Mintz played a quick, rather standard performance. Again I dressed basic, as the major contingent of audience at Conservatorio is 70+, and therefore donned a Jil Sander grey cashmere sweater set and shell, my Paper, Demin & Cloth indigo rinse jeans, a pair of modest Tods gommini chukkas, and my Aspesi black windbreaker with a Vuitton black cashmere scarf. Rainy, drab weather deserves a gray, drab pallet.
The program consisted of two segments: The first interval was two Mozart sonatas for piano and violin, K.378 in B-flat major, and K.526 in A major, which Mintz played with fluency, depth, and dexterity. But I did not hear teh buttah! Whar ist buttar?
At the end of the two sonatas, during the curtain call, Mintz took an encore. He spoke to the audience in his practiced Italian, and said rather robustly, “Ho deciso a suonare un 'piece' adesso.” (heh...translation: "I decided to play a 'piece' now"), which isn’t really the most concordant construction, but endearing nonetheless. He then played a Mendelssohn piece for violin and piano, but I am not terribly familiar with the composer, so I don’t know what it was.
The second half began with Šostakovič’s Sonata opus 147, inherent to Šostakovič style. Mintz played with controlled movement and calmness to counteract the turbulent, discordant notes of the sonata.
And that was it. No encore for his admirers. I spoke to my mother after the concert, and lamented that I was unable to isolate the buttery-goodness of Mintz's sawing. She, an accomplished violinist who played her first “G” before she even knew how to write, replied quite flippantly that my inexperienced ear was incapable of discerning such values. Great. My evening wasted. Next time I swear I’m going instead to Rosticceria Leoni on Corso Venzia when I need a fix of buttery love.