Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Asking for trouble

If you name your cat after a fierce Hungarian conductor, you can bet he'll get into trouble. Solti appeared this morning with a cat war wound on his face and had to be taken to the vet to have the abcess lanced. Now he looks like an extra-mean feline Long John Silver, minus parrot (wouldn't put it past him to catch one, though).

Tom is currently in Brazil with the BBC Symphony Orchestra (he normally plays for the London Philharmonic, but these things happen sometimes). He reports that Sao Paolo in the rain looks like Manchester, Rio has great food, and Leonidas Kavakos, who's the soloist for Berg and Sibelius violin concertos, is one of the three top fiddlers on earth.

I've adored everything I've heard Kavakos play, and I find it most encouraging to reflect that here is someone who matches none of the International Star stereotypes yet knocks the spots off the majority of those that do. He's Greek. He has a moustache. He wears glasses. He is (I think) about 40. He doesn't have to be photographed in jeans or hugging wolves. It's not just technique, it's what you choose to do with that technique. This man doesn't only have a fiddle - he has a brain. And also, I think, a sense of humour. Read my review of his Ravel and Enescu CD on ECM here (scroll down to January 2004).

Incidentally, in case anyone is wondering why I have a violin fetish despite being a pianist, it all goes back to when I fell in love with my violin teacher in 1984...Talk about asking for trouble.