Friday, April 8, 2011

Violinist Alexander Markov at Carnegie Hall

Last October, almost 30 years after his Carnegie Hall debut recital, violinist Alexander Markov returned to a sold out Carnegie Hall to perform his own “Rock Concerto”. He repeated a version of this concert in the Norwalk Concert Hall (Connecticut) last week to a much smaller, but no less enthusiastic audience. The Norwalk Concert Hall brought back fond memories since I grew up in neighboring Wilton and spent many Saturday mornings rehearsing with the Norwalk Youth Symphony in this hall.

Alex became interested in rock music during high school and it became a passion along with Paganini. He commissioned a custom 6-string violin (it is actually viola sized) to use in his rock band, but he was very frustrated with the guitar strings he was using which could not be bowed easily. I designed a special low F string for his instrument, which uses a magnetic pickup, and he was thrilled with the results!

Alex performed the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto for the first half of his Carnegie Hall concert. It was an extremely satisfying “old-fashioned” performance, more concerned with emotional communication as expressed through Alex’s own unique tone and phrasing rather than the more “clean and correct” playing of most modern performances. For his Norwalk concert, he played a variety of show pieces. My favorite was his remarkable performance of the Paganini “Moses” Fantasy Variations played all on the G-string. It was also delightful to hear the Sarasate “Navarra” duet with his father Albert Markov, who is still in remarkable playing shape. And of course he played his signature Paganini 24th Caprice (watch on YouTube) with its famous left-hand pizzicato variation.

Alex has revised his Rock Concerto since the Carnegie concert. The Carnegie version was more dramatic and operatic, with a huge chorus, and long sections. The pacing of the Norwalk version was much improved, with shorter sections, and featured Alex more prominently. The most heartfelt moments were Alex’s lyrical solos, tinged with bitter sweetness. It must have been difficult for his family to emigrate from the Soviet Union in the 1970s. Did I hear echoes of this? The music is completely different, but it calls to mind the emotional landscape of the musical Fiddler on the Roof.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post about violinist Alexander Markov performance at Carnegie..thanks for sharing. Here are some instruments you may like to know, Cello Strings, Cutaway acoustic electric guitar and Student guitar