At the beginning of this month Patricia performed in Southbank Centre’s “Changing Minds” series, devoted to mental health and the arts.
She joined the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and conductor Marin Alsop for Schumann’s Violin Concerto and together with soprano Anu Komsi she performed Kurtág’s Kafka Fragments.
The Times, 9 February 2016
5 * * * * * concert
“Crooning, keening, whispering and shrieking, the protagonist of György Kurtág’s Kafka Fragments is buffeted and blasted by the strangeness of a life with which she cannot cope. A violin is her only accompaniment: hinting at the music of Bach, Berg, Bartók and Vivaldi; the wild dances of gypsies and Jews; a half-remembered waltz; the dull beat of blood in a distracted brain.
There are vignettes of everyday life in a central European city before the First World War; religious and erotic visions; allusions to the lieder of Schubert and Schumann; an extended fantasy of a famous dancer on a tram. There is also black humour: “Slept, woke, slept, woke, miserable life”, a fragment set twice by Kurtág in this 1987 cycle of 40 brief songs, crafted from the diaries of Franz Kafka.
The soprano Anu Komsi and violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja delivered an interpretation of extraordinary technical and emotional virtuosity for the Southbank Centre’s Changing Minds festival. Performing from a single score, they were two halves of one self. Komsi was the respectable matron. Kopatchinskaja was the free spirit, barefoot and uninhibited, with a tone as bright as fresh blood and dazzling spiccato bowing. Fifty minutes of hysteria would quickly pall. Komsi produced something more powerful, a performance in which the protagonist’s effort to contain her madness was palpable.
Later on Sunday afternoon, at the milder end of the mind and music spectrum, Nicholas Collon, Aurora Orchestra and the “Grand Master of Memory” Ed Cooke delivered an illustrated lecture on sonata form in the first movement of Mozart’s Symphony No 40, using images of woodpeckers, tannoys and an alarm clock as tools in The Musical Memory Palace. The audience happily sang along in this most Radio 4-ish of events. I was still on the tram in Prague with Komsi, Kopatchinskaja, Kafka and the famous Csárdás dancer, Eduardowa.”
The Guardian, 8 February 2016
4 * * * * concert
About the Schumann Violin Concerto: “Perhaps no violinist can make this work sound like a masterpiece, though plenty can make it sound intermittently noble, graceful or pretty. Kopatchinskaja, instead, made it sound alive.”
“Patricia Kopatchinskaja, a violinist who makes music seem a direct, almost unmediated communication of a state of mind.”
The Telegraph, 7 February 2016
4 * * * * concert
“The last thing it needs is a soloist who tries to iron out its quirks, but there was no danger of that here: Patricia Kopatchinskaja, a hyper-intense player who throws herself into every performance with a display of barefoot stomping, is the antithesis of those perfectly honed violinists who sometimes miss the point of this music.”
“At the Festival Hall, the Moldovan-Austrian violinist took the music to the edge, mixing beautifully introverted musings with almost proto-expressionist outbursts. To call it not elegantly Schumannesque would be to miss the point completely: since the OAE’s period-conscious performances aim for an authentic understanding of music, this one revealed something of the work’s startling originality. Kopatchinskaja’s fiery, almost gypsy-like fiddling was exciting, and the rapport between her and the OAE under the conductor Marin Alsop was tangible, not least in the heady Polonaise finale.”
Classical Source, 6 February 2016
“There could be no doubting the commitment of bare-footed soloist Patricia Kopatchinskaja […]. Kopatchinskaja’s belief in the Concerto was total”
Bachtrack, 6 February 2016
“Patricia Kopatchinskaja is incapable of giving a boring performance. She is one of classical music’s great risk takers [….]”