Mozart brings joy to season's finale
Season finale with Naoto Otomo, conductor; and soloists Ignace Jang, violin, and Mark Wong, organ:
» In concert: 8 p.m. Thursday and 4 p.m. Sunday
» Place: Blaisdell Concert Hall
» Tickets: $21 to $74, with 20 percent discount for students, military and seniors; available at Ticketmaster outlets (877) 750-4400)
» Call: 792-2000 (weekdays) or 524-0815, ext. 245, (evenings) or visit www.honolulusymphony.com
It has been a season of trials and tribulations, but the unequivocal support that the musicians have received from the community -- from audience members to outsiders -- has helped us get through these challenging times.
Music is magic. We craft melodies, we move in unison to the rhythms and in the safe haven that is our performing stage, our sole commitment is to provide joy to our audience. I'm so glad for the opportunity to share the spotlight in this season's concluding concerts.
Guest conductor Naoto Otomo is returning to the podium, leading us in a grandiose finale featuring the St. Saens Organ Symphony: a hair-raising work, and not just for its blasting organ sounds. Before intermission, the maestro and I will make music together in Mozart's delightful Violin Concerto No. 3.
Mozart's work is one that most violinists discover during their formative years, and one that will cross their musical paths throughout their lives. I was 10 years old when I studied this piece for a jury exam, my very first experience at interpreting Mozart's music. Ten years passed until college, when I rediscovered the concerto and my new teacher offered his advice. It felt like reading a favorite book again. You know what happens next, but you still have immense pleasure reading it.
Inevitably, when a work simmers inside of you almost as long as you have enjoyed playing the violin, snapshots from the past appear as if they were taken yesterday. But snapshots don't always have to be visual. The winter storm that I got caught in during my last rendition is what I vividly remember. Here in cozy Hawaii, I can still feel the icy wind through my slacks on my way to the hall, and I can picture the beautiful snow-covered scenery from my dressing room. This weekend, the weather man is predicting a sunny forecast. No matter. Rain or shine, the music of Mozart will always shine brightest.
So, I'm older now. Does that make me wiser? Is the concerto easier to perform because of my experience, or harder because the carefree attitude is long gone? With Mozart, it's always a toss-up. They say that his music is almost easier to play when you're young because it's so full of innocence, youth and unbridled joy. I say it's easier when you're young to focus on a single task and enjoy it. As an adult, my mind is constantly filled with activity and information outside my focus. Gas prices, rush-hour traffic, favorite sports team, etc. Sometimes it's a challenge to clear your mind and appreciate the finer things.
Most definitely, this concerto belongs to those finer things: the lightness, liveliness, purity of lines, but also the sheer sensitivity of its middle movement. It's what makes Mozart's music so enjoyable for everyone, from young to old. And, thankfully, I'm not alone in crafting Mozart's music. The orchestra behind me weaves a beautiful tapestry of bright, colorful sounds that set the atmosphere, much as the tradewinds clear the harmful vog out of our way.
Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 3 is a favorite of performers, teachers and students. The musicians of the symphony are not just entertainers and performers, but also educators and role models. As a mentor to aspiring young violinists, I hope that my legacy as a teacher will pass on to future generations, just as what I have learned from my own teachers was, in turn, learned from generations of educators long past.
Ignace "Iggy" Jang is the Honolulu Symphony's concertmaster. "Crescendo" appears on the Monday prior to each concert of the season to illuminate works to be performed. E-mail email@example.com