Many of us do Sudoku puzzles when weâ€™re sick and bored at home.Â Perhaps weâ€™ll read a novel or watch some TV if weâ€™re taking care of a family member.Â Instead, while his father was sick on a family tour, Mozart wrote his first symphonyâ€¦at age eight.Â While the piece is more of a curiosity then a repertoire staple, the quality and compositional technique look to Mozartâ€™s brilliant future.Â
This rare gem opens the upcoming BSO program at Symphony Hall, with Markus Stenz on the podium.Â After the symphony, mind-boggling technician and brilliant musician Frank Peter Zimmermann will play Mozartâ€™s 2nd Violin Concerto (which he wrote at an elderly 19) and a new work by Brett Dean, and the evening wraps up with Schumannâ€™s boisterous Symphony No. 2.Â
Stenz was one of the first to champion works by the composer, and former member of the Berlin Philharmonic, Brett Dean, and he brings Deanâ€™s recent work The Lost Art of Letter Writing to Boston this coming weekend.Â The piece draws stylistically from early 20thÂ Century modernists more than it does from contemporary composers, and even though the piece is not tonal, it features easily recognizable melodies and motifs.Â Its siblings are Shostakovich, Bartok, and Prokofiev, not Boulez and Carter, and the piece is an expressive tour de force in which the violinist almost never relinquishes the center stage.Â
Speaking of virtuosos, I will never forget Zimmermannâ€™s performance of the Brahms Violin Concerto at Tanglewood in 2001, and every time I attend a performance of his I feel the anticipation of another legendary show. Â During his last couple of appearances with the BSO, he encored with some virtuosic pyrotechnics.Â Itâ€™s clear when they shake their bows in the air following every performance that the orchestra members love Zimmermannâ€™s playing.Â This is a virtuoso not to be missed.Â
For the gather.com community: Are there any violinists out there?Â Who do you think is the greatest violinist of all time, and/or the greatest living violinist and why?