Stunning. The Philharmonic concert last night was stunning. It was also moving. It was a treat to the sense, to the eyes and to the ears, but also to the heart.
The young violinist, Stanislav Pronin, a Muscovite who studied long at Indiana University’s renowned school of music, was breathtaking. If Mendelssohn is a god of music and creativity then Pronin is his apostle. He performed the concerto for Violin and Orchestra as if it were his soul coming through the warm, resonant 18th century violin. He manipulated the instrument if it were an extension of his arm and soul. Every passage was vibrant and flawlessly execute with the verve of youth and the skills of generations. You see, his family is steeped in the musical culture, it is the family business, and he may be the greatest in a long line of geniuses.
After his performance he came back for one encore then a second. The audience demanded it. He complied with humor and virtuosity. The first piece was an exercise the second a ditty of sorts. His fingering and bowing had many of us on the fronts of our seats. At one point a shiver of amazement coursed through me, another moment I felt my eyes well with appreciation for a rare moment in Fort Wayne, when the very best the world could offer was in presented to us all to savor.
Great credit to the music director and conductor of the Philharmonic, Michael Constantine, who brought Mr. Pronin to Fort Wayne and had the wisdom, the foresight, to place him on the same program with a presentation by the Philharmonic’s Youth Symphony. There were probably 300 parents, students, siblings and friends in the audience to hear their little stars perform with the Philharmonic. The kids, forty or so, woven in among the regulars of the Philharmonic, played beautifully. A blond waif of a child handle a cello about the same size as him with gusto. The tall timpanist was perfect and composed, many others performed violin, flute and bass. But, as important their auspicious debut on the big stage they witnessed a master of the violin give a sterling performance. No greater encouragement could be offered, no better role model, no move impressive moment. They witnessed a great violinist who will be on the grandest stages of the world for many more years to come. Maestro Constantine should be saluted for this confluence, a gift to our children.
Other pieces were by Franz Schubert, Richard Wagner, Giaochino Rossini and Ottorino Respighi. The Flying Dutchman, Lohengrin, Rosemunde, the Fountains of Rome and the Overture to the Thieving Magpie. Find them on You Tube and listen to a bit of what you missed. But, our little concert was energetic almost from the first note and the resonance so much, much grander in the Embassy than anything you will see on the tube or your little computer screen. The sound was stunning and vibrant.
You who missed this concert missed something very, very special indeed. Those who rose to the feet in applause will savor the evening for years, it was that good!