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New Classical Tracks: Midori takes a COVID detour with Beethoven's Violin Concerto

Midori debuts her recording of Beethoven's Violin Concerto on Warner Classics. Timothy Greenfield
5min : New Classical Tracks: Midori
15min 24sec : New Classical Tracks: Midori (extended)

Midori and Festival Strings Lucerne: Beethoven Violin Concerto / 2 Romances (Warner Classics)

"I would say that this recording was something that didn't get affected by COVID. It was the last thing that I actually, so to say, did before the lockdown."

That's Midori talking about her new Beethoven recording with the Festival Strings Lucerne. It was supposed to be a live recording. That performance got canceled due to COVID, but rehearsals were already underway, so they were given permission to make a studio recording instead. It features Beethoven's Two Romances for Violin and Orchestra, and Midori's first recording of Beethoven's only violin concerto.

As you prepared Beethoven's Violin Concerto with the Lucerne Festival strings, what was most important to you as you were putting your signature on this piece?

"It was about learning to read each other, to listen to each other, to understand each other. Through the context of these pieces. Ah, except for the G major OS, which I learned a little bit later, I can't remember the time when I didn't know these pieces. And so, in a way, you have a lifelong sort of preparation. Leading up to this and then life will go on after this, also."

I read one review on your performance of the Violin Concerto. And it describes your performance as using a delicate approach, almost Beethoven in lace curtains. Do you think that that accurately describes your intentions with this work?

"I find this concerto to be extremely beautiful, very deep, extremely lyrical. And it just keeps flowing. And so. That's how I see it. It is a very delicate work. It's a very detailed work. It's a very poetic, very imaginative. Everything about it is, it is. It's amazing."

It took a while for this Violin Concerto to catch on is being part of the regular repertoire. What do you think now, it's considered to be such an iconic work?

"Well, it's Beethoven. So, it's a piece that I think for players also we keep playing and discovering new things. It's a never-ending story. It's something that keeps all of us engaged and connected.

"It's music that gives you hope. It's music that actually come through. It's very difficult, actually, to play. But then after a very short cadenza, does this very Jolley dance-like last movement, which very much reminds me at least of certain passages, sections from the set of Solo Sonatas and Partitas by Bach. We believe that Beethoven very much knew.

"For me, the music of Beethoven is something I get completely lost in. I forget the passage of time. I forget the time passing. And it makes you not notice the immediate complaints that you might have or add irksome things that may be going on. It just completely takes your over. And it takes you into a different world.

"What amazes me is that it's always new. This music is always new. So, it's pretty amazing."

To hear the rest of my conversation, click on the extended interview above, or download the extended podcast on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.

Resources

Midori — Beethoven Violin Concerto 2 Romances (Amazon)
Midori (official site)

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