Everyone–absolutely everyone–who likes this blog should see
of violinist Gilles Apap playing his cadenza (surely
improvised) in the last movement of Mozart’s third violin concerto. The video
is on YouTube; many, many, many thanks to the good
soul who posted it there. (And also to the two people who e-mailed me, urging
me to see it.) The cadenza must be about eight minutes long, and involves gypsy
music, whistling, tapping on the violin, music for the
orchestra as well as the soloist, and a lot of joy.
The joy is one reason the whole thing works. It’s excessive;
that’s easy to say. It goes on too long. It’s self-indulgent. All of these will
be common reactions. It has nothing to do with Mozart. This last thought kept
going through my head, even though, moment by moment, I loved everything
class=SpellE>Apapdoes. (It’s all a kind of silly shtick, too. I forgot
But this thought–that the video has nothing to do with
Mozart–turned out to be completely, utterly, shockingly wrong. Because when the
cadenza finally ends, and Mozart’s music comes back, Mozart’s ending sounds
astonishingly right, as if Mozart wrote it expressly to follow everything
class=SpellE>Apaphas just played. I’ve elsewhere written (in a recent
style='mso-bidi-font-style:normal'>Wall Street Journal review–or maybe it
hasn’t appeared yet) that these concerti are essentially entertainment, and
that they just about require the soloist to improvise embellishments. I didn’t
quite imagine the embellishments in the style(s) of Apap’s
cadenza, but that turns out not to be a problem. The spirit matters more than
the letter, and Apap’s
spirit is exactly right.
Proof of that: the Mozart sounds fabulous, played with
complete delight. And for once, the piece (one of the concerti that Mozart ends
with a light rondeau movement, which often sounds too
light to be a proper ending) really sounds like it finishes decisively.
Details: Apap, from what I see on
his website, seems to be
playing with the Sinfonia Varsovia.
He doesn’t seem to own or control the video; he’s not even sure where to find
it. And I can’t tell from the YouTube page whether the
cadenza is the entire video, or whether someone filmed the entire concerto, and
this is just an excerpt.
But we can
href="https://www.west.net/~apapaziz/html/form.html">buy CDsof the entire
concerto performance, and when I get back from vacation, I’m going to order one.