Category Archives: Music

Violin Music

Grandma Marion’s Violin (an unplayable keepsake). Photo: TLClark, 9/24/19.

Sunday afternoon’s Des Moines Symphony Orchestra (DSMO) concert was the highlight of our weekend. An all Tchaikovsky concert. Familiar (especially to my beloved), beautiful music. Melodies and harmonies, rhythms and silence done well, really well. It was soothing and invigorating and healing.

The day began as planned – up early enough to take my beloved to a pick-up choir rehearsal before church. But by the end of worship, he was struggling to stand and in more pain than usual – a result of living with metastatic cancer for more than eight years. Extra strength acetaminophen, a little heat and some rest at home helped.

The music helped more.

Before the performance I figured the Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35 (1881) would be the least enjoyable piece on the program. I’m not usually a big fan of the violin. I could not have been more wrong. It was AMAZING.

Gil Shaham, the solo violinist, was AMAZING.

The piece, according to the program notes, was considered “unplayable” by the violinist Tchaikovsky hoped would premiere it. Watching Mr. Shaham play, I could see why – the fingers of his left hand skipped rapidly up and down the fingerboard on the neck, the bow in his right hand danced across the the strings, his whole body moved with the music. The sound was AMAZING.

I now like violin music. At least when it’s Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto played by Gil Shaham.

Grandma’s Old Violin. Photo: TLClark, 9/24/19.

Sing to [the Lord] a new song;
    play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.

Psalm 33:3 NRSV