Friday, October 31, 2014
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

Gardner guilty of murder, with special circumstances

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
State superintendent makes campaign stop in Davis

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Meet Poppenga at Saturday reception

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

Bob Dunning: Lawn display causes a theological crisis

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Couple killed in Yolo County crash

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

Same-party races challenge incumbents

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
State races test one-party rule

By New York Times News Service | From Page: A2

 
Indians celebrate Diwali with gala on Sunday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

Rairdan dinged for late report

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A3

 
Veterans will tailgate at ‘Salute to Heroes’ game

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Wolk hailed for environmental votes

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Yamada honored for leadership on aging issues

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Embroidery group meets at mall

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Bet Haverim will hear Israel update

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Local artisans featured at holiday craft fair

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Got bikes? Donate ‘em!

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Kids walk for friends at Birch Lane

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Explorit: Creep out with some spooky science

By Lisa Justice | From Page: A4

Shambhala offers Tai Chi class

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Bones for Life classes offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Enjoy wine, music and art at Sunday fundraiser for DHS choir

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A9

 
.

Forum

New-school cheating on the smartphone

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Garamendi, Dodd get my votes

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

High hopes for Sunder

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Public service is in her heart

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

A calm, thoughtful voice

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Sunder is a perfect fit

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Best predictor is past behavior

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Vote for students, with Tuck

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

My choices on Tuesday

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
.

Sports

Blue Devil girls net an easy win at Grant

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Aggie offense A-OK; now what about defense?

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

In Davis, rugby is as American as apple pie

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

 
DHS plays undefeated Pacers Friday night

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
 
Niemi’s 43 saves aren’t enough in loss to Wild

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

.

Features

.

Arts

Calling all artists for upcoming show

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
‘Birdman': A dark comedy that soars

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11

 
DHS Madrigals host singing workshop

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12

 
Marcia Ball to play at The Palms

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Big, capable luxury defines Yukon

By Ann M. Job | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

Joseph Francis Gray

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Friday, October 31, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6

 
.

Real Estate Review

Featured Listing

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER1

Professional Services Directory

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER2

Lyon Real Estate

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER3

RE/Max Gold

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER4

Kim Eichorn

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER5

Susan von Geldern

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER6

Team Traverso

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER6

Yolo FCU

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER6

Juan Ramirez

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER6

Tracy Harris

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER7

Susan von Geldern

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER7

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER8

Julie Leonard

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER8

Joe Kaplan

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER9

Melrina A Maggiora

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER9

Coldwell Banker

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER10

Leslie Blevins

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER12

Julie Partain

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER12

Robin Garland

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER13

Jamie Madison

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER13

Diane Lardelli

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER13

Karen Waggoner

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER14

Jamie Madison & Associates

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER14

Lisa Haass

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER14

Ciana Wallace

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER15

Travis Credit Union

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER16

Malek Baroody

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER17

Marcelo Campos

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER18

F1rst Street Real Estate

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER20