If you’re going to emulate great musicians from the past, you could do worse than choose Bach and Mozart. Maybe this crossed Julia Fischer’s mind when she was planning her January 2008 concert with the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie under Matthias Pintscher. For the renowned violinist, named “Artist of the Year” in 2007 by the U.K.’s “Gramophone” magazine, did exactly as Bach and Mozart did: she appeared in public as a soloist on two completely different instruments, the violin and the piano.
Fischer, who also trained as a pianist, pulled off this rare and risky feat with extraordinary prowess. In Saint-Saëns’ Violin Concerto No. 3 in B minor op. 61, she weaves her lines seamlessly into the orchestral texture, emerging now with prominent embellishments, now with passionate cantilenas, or withdrawing to let the woodwinds express themselves as equals. The most well-known of Saint-Saëns’ violin concertos, it was written in 1880 for the celebrated virtuoso Pablo de Sarasate.
For her “piano” part of the evening, Julia Fischer chose the popular Grieg Concerto in A minor op. 16, a warhorse that shares with the previous work an intricate interweaving of the solo and orchestral parts. Commenting on her flawless piano technique and utterly natural artistry on this instrument, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote: “She mastered the work with bravura ... a more than amazing double talent.” Or triple? Fischer – the youngest violin professor in Germany – is scheduled to conduct the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields in February 2009. The concert also includes two works by Richard Strauss, Don Juan op. 20 and the Rosenkavalier Suite.
Richard Strauss - Don Juan, op. 20
Camille Saint-Saëns - Violin Concerto No. 3 in B minor, op. 61
Edvard Grieg - Piano Concerto in A minor, op. 16
Richard Strauss - Rosenkavalier Suite