Sunday, 17 July 2016

Kaddish

Kaddish

It was so inspiring to perform again with Daniel Hope and Sebastian Knauer on July 8th, this time in the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, as part of Daniel's concert series "Familienstücke" in Lübeck. We did Walton's thirty-minute Sonata for Violin and Piano and it went like a charm, with a lovely togetherness and synergy. I found that the music was thoroughly coursing through my veins and this confidence provided space for the occasional improvisation.

Then we did Maurice Ravel's Kaddish, one of his Deux mélodies hébraïques, a Jewish prayer of mourning and praise. Daniel introduced this work with a poignant story about his dear friend and mentor the late Yehudi Menuhin. After performing in Düsseldorf together on March 7th 1999, Yehudi encouraged Daniel to play an encore and he spontaneously chose the Kaddish. Yehudi listened sitting in the orchestra. It turned out to be their last concert. Five days later Yehudi passed away. 


I had long wanted to create and perform a piece in honour of Yehudi, in memory of a dear friend, the first great musician to invite me to perform together. Daniel gave me the perfect opportunity in Lübeck and as I painted this mournful and agonizingly beautiful work, I found it difficult not to be overcome with emotion, as my kinetic colours flowed gently away, for ever. Then a very slow fade out, to a hall in total silence. We had created a worthy tribute.
Here is the five minute video of my studio rehearsal, using Daniel's passionate recording with Jacques Ammon.