Disclaimer: I am in no way a classical music expert- just a starving rock musician.
He hit the stage like a rock star, dressed in black, long ebon hair, his ax under his arm. But the ax was not a guitar and the star was the violinist Stefan Jackie.
I had the pleasure of attending the Zeiterion Theater’s first Classical Concert in the Sanctuary at the New Bedford Unitarian Church the other night and witnessed the man himself accompanied on the piano by Max Levinson.
No PA systems, no lights, no microphones: the pure magic of vibrating strings created all the magic needed to enthrall the 100 or so music lovers in attendance in the acoustically perfect sanctuary. Mr. Jackiw had a music stand in evidence, but he rarely glanced at it, performing the four selections with eyes closed and swaying dramatically with the music.
The first selection was a Mozart Sonata that sounded familiar to me. Very intricate and delicate. I really had to control myself between movements- almost broke into spontaneous applause. (Which begs the question: Why not! What’s the big deal?) Anyway, I loved the Mozart Sonata in A Major and even the ambulance that raced up Union St. in the middle of the second movement was in key.
They followed up with Aaron Copland’s Sonata for Violin and Piano. Mr. Jackiw introduced it and told us to listen for church bells, hymns and a ho-down- heard it all, very atonal and mesmerizing.
After a brief intermission, Stefan and Max came back and blew us all away: they were warmed up now! Ending the evening with Brahms’ Sonata in D Minor, which was absolutely breathtaking. The melodic theme sounded very modern despite the fact it was written in the 19th Century. The crowd exploded into a standing ovation after this selection and we all left feeling quite satisfied that we had all seen and heard something special. Kudos to the Zeiterion for pulling this off. There will be two more concerts in this series: Odair Assad (Classical Guitar) on February 10th and Jennifer Koh (Violin) on March 12th. I’ll be there (if I don’t have a gig).