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May 2018 Sibelius Violin Concerto concert video via Berliner Philharmoniker Digital Concert Hall app

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Nearly six years ago in May 2018, then 38-year-old Russian violinist Lisa Batiashvili stepped onto the stage in the Berliner Philharmonie to play the Sibelius Violin Concerto with Paavo Jarvi conducting the Berliner Philharmoniker and the rest is history. The Sibelius work is known for its strenuous cadenzas and flowing passages that are incomparable in beauty and deadly to the soloist. In a rare moment, the camera captures the intricate interplay between the soloist and the second violin that is uncommon in violin concertos. Stream the concert from the Berliner Philharmoniker Digital Concert Hall app and cast it onto your TV and marvel at the sheer production value a meager $13 a month gets you.

Of normal height and physique, Batiashvili doesn’t flaunt anything or amuse with animated expressions. She harbors intense stamina and objective and there is assurance and joy in her performance. The admiration of the orchestra and the audience for her is palpable. Her technical superman-ship and artistic musicianship is radiant and overwhelming. At the end of the 1st Movement, the audience couldn’t help but break the protocol and applaud. That is just the beginning, for rarely has the Adagio di molto 2nd Movement been more aloof in sensibility and ecstatic in emotion as Batiashvili traverses the exotic landscape with utter control and grace. It would be the very definition of ecstasy if one could live in these moments forever.

Then disaster almost struck as the baton is waved and the cellos begin earnestly with the introduction of the 3rd Movement, when the cameraman remains steadfast with his focus on the cellos and the TV audience is set to miss the striking of the very first note of one of the most feared and anticipated violin passages in the history of music. Then the camera changes to Batiashvili barely a second before she puts the bow to the violin and a haphazard blood pressure surge in me is thus averted, narrowly.

Still, it would offer no solace if one were seated on the left side of the hall. Don’t you know you should be on the right side of the hall in a violin concerto concert, and on the left in that of a piano concerto?

And there she was, an elegantly clothed woman bringing the entire house under her spell and all begging for more. True and tried musicianship is increasingly elusive in this day and age but we now may view this landmark event any time we need to get back to a more beautiful place, just to absorb the brilliance of the Lisa Batiashvili musicianship.

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