To know that at a time when every one is lamenting the disappearing of classical music, the PSO with Marek Janowski are embarking on recording a cycle of Brahms’ Symphonies, his ‘Haydn Variations’ and the ‘Hungarian Dances’. This brings a certain degree of hope that the "dooms day prophets" are wrong.
Starting the concert with the ‘Variations on a Theme by Haydn’, reminded me of an incident I witnessed many years ago. The occasion was a small party held in one of the literary coffee houses in Tel-Aviv, to honor a young poet on his first published book. His friends congratulated him with much enthusiasm and talked about his great creativity. At one point, an old poet held up his glass and mused on the influences of other poetry he discovered while reading this new collection. The young poet protested, saying that his verses were absolutely original. I will never forget the reply of the "elder" who said very softly: "Only the concrete side-walk is not aware of the rain and it will never grow flowers…"
Brahms created a bouquet of "charming flowers" in his ‘Variations on a Theme by Haydn’; he forever paid homage to Beethoven, wishing that his own music will carry on the tradition of the old master, especially in his symphonic music. His ‘Second Symphony’ would have delighed Beethoven.
Between these two Brahms’ creations, the young and dazzling soloist, Chee-Yun, played Camille Saint-Saens’ ‘Third Violin Concerto’. Saint-Saens
composed it in the traditional German Concerto form, 10 years after the
French were defeated in the Franco Prussian War. This was his
contribution to revitalizing French music.
As I learned so many years ago, great & creative art is a
continuum. Let the rain be absorbed by those who will offer us their