Saturday, January 10, 2009
ERIC MAISEL post
A young composer, who was also a violin virtuoso, had an idea for a violin concerto. The themes flowed out of him and struck him as beautiful. He recognized that it would be a devilishly difficult piece to play but its difficulty was not gratuitous: you had to play fast and dexterously, to be sure, but if you did you produced something gorgeous.
He played the concerto for his mentor. His mentor hated it, exclaiming that it sounded as if the violin was being tortured. He played it in concert. The audience booed it and reviewers called it “music foul to ear” and “music for masochists.” No other violinists would touch. Every so often he would play his violin concerto in concert, always with the same disastrous results.
He never stopped believing in its beauty. He died young; and ten years after his death a great violinist ventured a performance, which was hailed as brilliant. Suddenly everyone called the concerto a masterpiece. It became an integral part of the violin literature; and now every up-and-coming violinist must master it.
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