In preparation for a big concert, one of my laziest tactics is listening to Kreisler’s violin playing.
These recordings are everywhere, thanks to Youtube, and there’s a tremendous amount of works that Kreisler recorded.
When I was in grad school, a super great player, Rena Kimura, and I, played some of Ysaÿe’s sonata for two violins for a visiting professor. I think we nailed it out of the park! But after we finished, we had a strange experience with our audience of one.
Without a word, the visiting professor pulled out his iPhone and started to swipe around.
We were sort of in the lurch for a long, silent minute. I’m sure we both thought he had lost his mind; that he was about to call his wife to ask about dinner or something.
But not a moment later, he started braodcasting a Youtube video of one of the ol’ timers playing something. (He probably put on Ysaÿe playing, but I can’t be sure.)
In that moment, I was frozen in time.
And it’s a moment that will always stay with me. You see, it was an invitation to get back to what it’s all about: the emotion, the poetry, the heart of violin.
That’s been my little artistic motto ever since. But usually I have to actually listen to those ol’ timers to truly tap into the golden age of violin playing.