‘I play the music that I love, that’s all,’ insists master of the classical violin

His style scope ranges from Brahms to Shostakovich and from Bach to Ligeti. The repertoire of German violinist Christian Tetzlaff is extremely wide. No matter what he plays, the 42-year-old virtuoso has his own way of digging deep into the music and bringing to the surface its most valuable elements. He has achieved something very important: Apart from his numerous recordings and collaborations with prominent conductors and orchestras around the world, as a musician he has succeeded in combining a violinist’s technical skills with genuine musical feeling. Tonight and tomorrow, the Athenian public will have an opportunity to see him perform at the Athens Concert Hall, in a program that will include Brahms’s popular «Concerto for Violin and Orchestra,» a work he knows extremely well. He will be accompanied by the acclaimed Mahler Chamber Orchestra under the baton of Daniel Harding. The evening’s program will further feature Brahms’s «Symphony No 2» as well as Pierre Boulez’s work «Memoriale.» Tetzlaff firmly insists that he is not trying to «educate» his audience with his wide-ranging repertoire. «I play the music that I love, that is all,» he said. «Besides, the chronological difference between two works may not be of any significance. You can play Mendelssohn and Schumann, who come from the same era, and you may need to use entirely different elements in each work. What matters is to take from every composition the genuine feeling that lies within it. Perhaps my only ‘educational’ role concerns the interpretations of works by contemporary composers. I want to play at least one contemporary composition per year, so as to give at least one opportunity for contemporary composers to be heard as well as allow the audience to discover them.» Tetzlaff has also founded his own quartet. «With chamber music, composers are at their most personal. It is a music that comes from deep within.» When asked about the kind of music he listens to in his spare time, Tetzlaff laughs but then turns serious. «I mostly listen to Sibelius and Bruckner,» he said, namely hardcore symphony composers. «Especially as Bruckner is a composer whom we all discovered only recently.» Ideal times for classical music Tetzlaff believes that the present time is ideal for classical music. «Let us not kid ourselves, classical music has always garnered just 5 percent or 10 percent maximum of public attention. That is something that cannot change and I am not being elitist by saying that. What we can change is the way we perform it: Each interpretation can have something personal, something direct and familiar. Especially today, with the downloading possibilities provided by the Internet, the average listener can bypass all the record labels’ promotional stuff and discover things his own way. The present is ideal for classical musicians. You just need to have enough money to give concerts and to make music. You don’t have to be a millionaire.» Athens Concert Hall, 1 Kokkali & Vas. Sofias, tel 210.728.2333.

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