Friday, September 03, 2004

Sébastien Tamisiau - 03/09/2004, Braine-l'Alleud

My future-ex-next-next door neighbour provides me with occasional brushes with live classical music. Last night he gave a small public performance that was essentially a rehearsal for his rapidly upcoming final exam.

I missed the first piece entirely and part of the second due to someone's car blocking my driveway (an all-too-frequent occurrence, maddeningly). What I did hear, though, was most of Shostakovich's "1st Violin Concerto" (at least, I think it was the 1st). I didn't know it at all (unsurprisingly...).

When I arrived, during what I suppose was the first movement, the music was very emotional, but in a very harsh, grey and sharp-edged (not quite dissonant, but almost, a great knife-edge to balance upon) way and the mood never let up. Afterwards, one person commented on that, that the violin seemed to meander endlessly, and I guess one could feel that way, but I enjoyed that feeling of never coming up for air, just the relentlessness of it.

That all sounds rather grave, and maybe S. thought so too, as the next movement (BTW, I hate the "no clapping between movements" thing, it's so unnatural. That release is needed, much more so than unhappy and unfulfilling coughing and in-seat-shifting) was deliriously demented: sinister fairground music, piano accompaniment that suddenly became lighter and more consonant, sounding like Mozart or something. The delirium was palpable: the movement started with dance-related piano phrases countered by irregular staccato violin chord blasts sounding like a funk rhythm guitarist who'd lost track of the One.

The following movement was a necessary release (especially given the no clapping rules & regulations): grand, straight-forward (almost poppish, really) piano harmonies let us weep at the (presumably) futile outpourings that preceded it. It put the first movement in a different light: both emotional, but one driven, implosive and tense, the other relaxed, open and simple.

The feeling that there's a fourth movement that I'm totally forgetting is nagging at me. Maybe the experts can fill me in (and blow holes into my description).