Tuesday, January 27, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Shaham returns to Mondavi, performing music for solo violin

By
From page A9 | October 25, 2013 |

Gil ShahamW

Violinist Gil Shaham will play William Bolcom's Suite No. 2 for Violin at a Nov. 1 concert at the Mondavi Center. Christian Steiner/Courtesy photo

Check it out

Who: Violinist Gil Shaham

When: 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1

Where: Jackson Hall, Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts

Tickets: Starting at $50 general, $25 for UC Davis students; www.mondaviarts.org, 530-754-2787

Violinist Gil Shaham returns to the Mondavi Center’s Jackson Hall on Friday, Nov. 1, at 8 p.m. for a solo recital featuring three works by J.S. Bach and the recent Suite No. 2 for Solo Violin by American composer William Bolcom, who will speak at the 7 p.m. pre-concert talk.

Shaham is no stranger to Davis — he appeared as soloist with the San Francisco Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas in 2006 (the Violin Concerto of American composer William Schuman, 1947-58), and with the St. Louis Symphony in 2011 (the Violin Concerto No. 2 of Soviet/Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev, 1935).

Shaham’s professional career began before he entered his teens, appearing in 1981 as a young soloist with the Jerusalem Symphony, and the Israel Philharmonic. His career got a big boost in 1989, when Shaham, still in his late teens, was summoned on short notice to perform the Bruch and Sibelius concertos with the London Symphony Orchestra under conductor Thomas, earning favorable reviews.

Shaham’s first album came out the following year, and he quickly established a reputation as a concerto specialist, recording concertos by Paganini, Wieniawski, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Sibelius, Prokofiev, Bartók, Elgar and Barber, working with major orchestras around the world.

Shaham, who has matured from a “boy wonder” prodigy into a 42-year-old father of three children, continues to have a jet-set calendar — he will appear in November with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Atlanta Symphony. Then he has multiple engagements in early 2014 performing the Korngold Violin Concerto with the Houston Symphony, the Orchestre de Paris and the Vienna Philharmonic.

But scanning through Shaham’s discography, you don’t find much Baroque music, with the exception of the Vivaldi “Four Seasons,” which almost every star violinist records. This isn’t for lack of familiarity: “When I was growing up, I studied my Bach, it was part of a regular upbringing,” Shaham told The Enterprise in a recent phone interview. “But when I started performing, I was always — I’m not sure what the right word is — perhaps ‘wary.’

“But I heard from so many musicians, ‘There is no greater joy than playing Bach.’ For instance, I remember seeing (pianist) Andras Schiff talk about Bach, and his eyes brightened up, and he said playing Bach is ‘the most wonderful thing.’

“And I think it’s true,” Shaham continued. “I started making a conscious effort to play Bach several years ago, particularly the solo works. I believe these pieces were very special to Bach himself.”

Much of Bach’s choral music was written for the church, and while Bach’s solo violin works are not overtly sacred, many listeners find them deeply spiritual.

“I remember Nathan Milstein (the Russian violinist, 1904-1992) used to get very passionate and say, ‘This is not religious music,’ but I also remember Leonard Bernstein saying, ‘This is music of faith, just listen to it!’ I find questions of faith are never far behind when you hear this music,” Shaham said.

His Davis program includes Bach’s Suite No. 1 in G minor (BWV 1001), Partita No. 1 in B minor (BWV 1002) and Partita No. 3 in E Major (BWV 1006).

When composer Bolcom was commissioned a few years ago to write a new piece for Shaham, Bach’s name came up early in their conversations about the direction that the music might take.

“Perhaps there is no more personal writing for violin than a solo piece,” Bolcom said in his program note for his Suite No. 2 for Solo Violin, which was completed last year. “Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach wrote of his father’s compelling violin playing, evidenced by the transcendent J.S. Bach solo sonatas and partitas.” So performing the Bolcom suite together with Bach’s music for solo violin is a natural choice.

Bolcom’s Suite No. 2 is a set of nine short movements — “and they are miniatures, not a suite of dances” like some of Bach’s suites, Shaham explained.

“What I love about the piece is that he teaches me about the violin,” Shaham said. “His genius is that he understands the instrument so well. He has a movement, ‘Dancing In Place,’ in which you hold an open string, and you just hit the finger on the string, a technique that guitarists use. And your fingers are dancing in place. It fits the piece.”

The suite also includes a movement titled “Northern Nigun,” based on a form of Jewish religious singing. And there’s a movement titled “Lenny in Spats,” which Shaham described as “a very short tribute to Leonard Bernstein, which is all in harmonics covering the range of the violin from very low notes to the very high stratosphere.”

The Bolcom suite covers so much musical territory that Shaham suggested “it’s a little bit like a tasting menu and a tour de force of all of Bill’s compositional styles; the variety is unbelievable.”

Bolcom, who was born in 1938, is one of the distinguished elders of American music, having received a Pulitzer Prize for Music, the National Medal of Arts and two Grammy Awards, among other recognitions. He was named 2007 Composer of the Year by the magazine Musical America; he has written operas, symphonies, chamber music and more.

His most popular tune is probably “Graceful Ghost,” a piano rag that is often played as an encore number by violinists as well.

Tickets start at $50 general, $25 for UC Davis students, and are available at www.mondaviarts.org or 530-754-2787.

— Reach Jeff Hudson at jhudson@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8055.

 

Comments

comments

.

News

Interfaith event focuses on justice

By Fred Gladdis | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
In vino veritas: A criminal case and intrigue in Napa Valley

By New York Times News Service | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Parking lawsuit may be more than meets the eye

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

 
Crash leads to DUI, hit-run arrest

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Senate Dems block GOP effort to wind down pipeline debate

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

New-home sales jump 11.6% in December

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Blizzard howls its way into Boston

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Share your love (story) with us

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Pets of the week

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Workshop offers tips on GoPro cameras

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Sutter Davis Hospital seeks volunteer doulas

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
Winter produce, treats available at Wednesday market

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Have a ‘Heart to Heart’ with Dr. G

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Apply now for Soroptimist service grants

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Storyteller relies on nature as his subject on Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Vote for your favorites in Readers’ Choice poll

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Learn nature photography from an expert

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Thorp receives UCD’s Distinguished Emeritus Award

By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Innovation opportunities on the agenda

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Apply now to be on Davis’ coop crawl

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Seed swap set Friday at Davis Cemetery

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
VFW post plans Valentine’s Day Heroes Breakfast

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Sutter auxiliary seeks volunteers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
A winemaker’s downfall

By New York Times News Service | From Page: A7

Gerber nominations open now

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

 
.

Forum

Wife’s attitude costs her friends

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Taking turns as the halfway house

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

It’s foggy? Turn on your headlights

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Damage done to democracy

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

A family was torn apart, but we survived

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Locals will join march for climate change

By Michelle Millet | From Page: A6

.

Sports

Anatomy of a hoops collapse: Can Aggie men handle the pressure?

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Four DHS wrestlers soar at McClellan Air Force Base

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Aggie women almost get a sweep of Portland tennis teams

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
UCD women need to get in gear for a basketball road trip

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

UCD swims past Santa Barbara

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Sports briefs: Eat ribs for the Davis Aquadarts

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

.

Features

Name Droppers: Lea Rosenberg leads Odd Fellows

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
.

Arts

DHS Idol finals will be a tough competition

By Krystal Lau | From Page: A9

 
Wynonna Judd will perform Feb. 13 in Vacaville

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
‘Ideation’ a funny, dark, thrilling farce — and more

By Bev Sykes | From Page: A9 | Gallery

.

Business

.

Obituaries

Death notice: Lorraine Bernice DeGraff

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A2

 
.

Comics

Comics: Tuesday, January 27, 2015 (set 1)

By Creator | From Page: B5

 
Comics: Tuesday, January 27, 2015 (set 2)

By Creator | From Page: B7