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First Babe Violinist Concert I've attended since the Pandemic!

45.83.137.9

Posted on May 11, 2024 at 18:11:40
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This was the appearance of Mayuko Kamio in the Lesher Center's Hofmann Theater in Walnut Creek. This venue is literally 5 minutes away from my house - it's SO convenient for me to attend. Unfortunately, most of the "attractions" there are not that interesting to me, although there will usually be a babe violinist or two playing there in any given year. In recent years, those appearances have been impossible for me to attend, owing to conflicts with my own schedule (where I'm sometimes accompanying some of the local babes!).

I didn't have a lot of hope for being able to attend this concert with Mayuko, since it's been sold out for months. (The seating capacity of the theater is 785.) But I decided to show up at the box office to see if there had been any ticket returns, and. . . yes!. . . success! In fact the seat they had available for me was second row, just off center on the keyboard side - about 12 feet from where Mayuko was playing. The stars were aligned!

This concert was the last of this season's series of chamber music performances, and, as always before the concert starts, the president of the organization steps out and says a few words, and then turns it over to a board member who says a few words - and in this case, there was a new president taking over who had to say a few words too before she gave the microphone back to the outgoing president, who then proceeded to say a few more words about how great Mayuko was. He really got his rhetoric going in praise of her luscious tone, and, at one point declared, "And you will NEVER be able to find another musician as EASY to get along with as Mayuko is!"

So after he finally stopped, Mayuko came out on stage - no accompanist yet, because she was starting with Bach's E-major Partita for Unaccompanied Violin. I hadn't been in this hall in years, and I'd forgotten how dry it is. (I'd actually played on the stage myself in the Poulenc Concerto for Two Pianos with Jon Nakamatsu, about 20 years ago.) In any case, the dryness of the hall is one of those things which your ear adjusts to, and it soon became easy to appreciate Mayuko's gratifying performance. In fact, for me it was more than merely gratifying, because Mayuko is having none of the strangulated vibrato with which HIP academics have been attempting to straightjacket performances of Bach (and other music of the 18th Century) for decades. The audience immediately seemed to be won over and there was already applause after the opening movement! Brava!

Before Mayuko played the next item on her program (Mozart's E-minor Violin Sonata), she went over to the microphone and introduced herself: "Hello - I'm Mayuko Kamio. I'm the one who is so easy to get along with!". (She discreetly did not mention that she had won the gold medal at the Tchaikovsky Competition in 2007!) In Mozart's two-movement work, the flames kind of smolder under a deceptively calm surface, and, once again, Mayuko knew just what to do to project its hidden passion. Her pianist, Noreen Polera, seemed more serviceable than inspired, but maybe, having played the work myself, I just have a different conception of how the keyboard part should go in terms of balance and "aggressive" temperament. The rubato sounded perfect for what Mayuko was doing, maybe a bit less so for what her pianist was doing.

Rounding out the first half was the Brahms Sonata No. 2 in A major - one of the most songful works on the Violin/Piano Sonata repertoire. But there was something very canny about Mayuko's approach to the work, as it soon became evident that the violinist had been holding the full extent of how full she could make her tone until she got to the more impassioned sections of this Brahms Sonata. Magnificent - and once again, the audience was overcome, clapping between every movement! (BTW, an audience which claps between movements does not usually bother me at all. I see it as a manifestation of their enthusiasm, and, as I've pointed out here before, the audience at the premiere of Haydn's "The Creation" applauded when they heard Haydn's musical depiction of the sun coming out - and that was in the MIDDLE of a movement!)

UNFORTUNATELY, I had to leave at intermission - I was parked where the meter was about to expire, and I didn't want a $45 parking fine in addition to the $70 I'd paid for the ticket. Too bad, because the second half of the concert consisted entirely of encore-type pieces, which I love, and which feature on Mayuko's magnificent album of Encores.

Finally, if you are offended by my "sexist" comments (even by the relatively innocent term, "babe violinist"), please avert your eyes from the rest of this post! I feel compelled to comment on how "in shape" Mayuko was - that woman does not have a single extra ounce of fat on her whole body. So brava and a tip of the hat! Even aside from the wonderful music making!

 

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"accompanying some of the local babes!" Hmmm, what do the Babes' Parents think about that? nt, posted on May 12, 2024 at 08:01:16
oldmkvi
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Don't fret! - the babes' parents are always right there too! ;-), posted on May 12, 2024 at 10:38:20
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"I had to leave at intermission - I was parked where the meter was about to expire", posted on May 12, 2024 at 11:03:53
rkw
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Couldn't you add time to the meter and return to the concert?

Sounds like it was an enjoyable concert. Classical audiences are often passive and comatose, and I like it when there is engagement and enthusiasm.

 

Unfortuntely, I've recently developed a manifestation of old age, posted on May 12, 2024 at 12:27:05
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Geezerhood is us!

Arthritis in my right hip which was causing me such pain that I had to walk with a cain for a few weeks. (My regular babe doctor says that, based on examination of the x-rays they took, I'm "eligible" for a hip replacement.) However, my condition improved a lot due to acupuncture treatments from a woman (yet another babe!) I met in a cello worksop. (She was one of the cellists, noticed me limping around, came up to me and said, "Chris, I think I can help you!") And she DID help me - in fact, I can't believe how much she helped me! I've thrown away the cain, but I'm still slow (it varies day by day), and my car was parked some distance away from the concert venue.

BTW, I think Mayuko is playing the same program at San Francisco's Herbst Theater this afternoon.

 

ASIDE: Thanks for the "tip," Chris, posted on May 12, 2024 at 15:43:29
hesson11
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Coincidently, arthritis also struck my own right hip recently. Just got out of bed one morning about a month ago, and there it was! Outta nowhere. I haven't had a chance to think through alternative therapies yet, so your pointer (so to speak) about acupuncture is appreciated. I'm glad it seems to be working for you, and I'll definitely consider it myself. (No talk of replacement at this point.) -Bob from Jacksonville

 

I wasn't sure what to think myself, posted on May 12, 2024 at 16:09:22
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It seems to work for some people, but not for others. And the woman I've been seeing does a combination of acupuncture and tissue manipulation - she says she can actually feel the nerves.

EDIT: I've also heard success stories from people who have tried chiropractors, but, as with acupuncture, it's not 100% by any means.

 

I'm going to give it a try., posted on May 12, 2024 at 16:24:44
jimbill
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I've had lower back pain for ages. I tried a couple of chiropractors and got nothing more than a few minutes of relief.

I just turned 65 and, low and behold, Medicare covers acupuncture for chronic lower back pain.

 

That's the great thing about Audio Asylum, posted on May 12, 2024 at 16:45:18
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A thread about babe violinists transforms into one where we all compare our ailments! ;-)

Best of luck with your own acupuncture treatments, jimbill! BTW, mine seemed very weird at first: on the first visit, she was putting the needles into my head and my ears (even though the problem was in my hip). And she even had me leave in the one in my ear for full two weeks! (One violin teacher I work with was somewhat alarmed by this, and, when I showed up at her studio, she asked me, "Chris, what's that THING in your ear???" - LOL!)

I guess you just have to trust that these people in alternate therapies know what they're doing. I was paying out of pocket for my acupuncture, but my regular health organization (Kaiser) also has acupuncture available. However, for whatever reason, they make you wait for six months before they allow you to proceed with it.

 

No need for the quote marks around sexist, posted on May 13, 2024 at 15:08:21
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You are sexist, not "sexist" but I have to accept with serenity the things I cannot change. Sorry about your arthritis but keep in mind if you do have a HIP replacement you'll lose your vibrato.

 

"if you do have a HIP replacement you'll lose your vibrato", posted on May 13, 2024 at 16:53:23
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Yeah - I'm keeping that in mind as I stay in touch with my babe acupuncturist who is helping me defer the operation.

As for the "scurrilous" assertion in your post (sexist? moi? - mais non!), please note that I do stand proud among the "unwoke". (Uh-oh - there go those quotes again!) ;-)

 

Each time you comment on a soprano's age and weight it cancels out a drag queen story hour, posted on May 14, 2024 at 02:58:59
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Offsetting penalties.

 

Well worth it then! [nt] ;-), posted on May 14, 2024 at 05:00:15
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Some of the Moms are probably hotter. nt, posted on May 14, 2024 at 08:39:00
oldmkvi
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Ay, caramba!, posted on May 14, 2024 at 13:24:21
John Marks
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Hidalgo Juan.

NB, my family's myth and legend had been that one of our ancestors was a castaway sailor from the Spanish Armada who sought refuge in Ireland, so, I don't think I am committing criminal Cultural Appropriation.

But Ancestral DNA testing indicates that my mother's family's black hair and somewhat tawny or olive skin came from a West African slave trader, in the Sack of Baltimore (1631).

# # #

 

Wow, I Got You Beat by Two Years..... ;-], posted on June 18, 2024 at 08:59:33
Todd Krieger
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I saw Sarah Chang in Scottsdale, in 2022..... [-;

 

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