I am a Dvorak snob.
I really am. I first played the first movement of his cello concerto when I was 12 or 13, and it was a beast then just as it is still a beast for me. Having such small hands really does create a needlessly difficult obstacle in general, but for Dvorak it is so unpleasantly obvious. Simple melodies turn into complicated challenges for me.
I played the Dvorak Cello Concerto with my Youth Symphony when I was 17 (the first movement). I played it again for my senior recital in college. I own at least a dozen different recordings. I know what I like, I know what I don't like (Maisky, I'm looking at you, man!). Having said that, being me, I am always open and eager for new ideas and interpretations.
Today, my parents and I went to the San Francisco Symphony to hear Gautier Capucon's version of the Dvorak Cello Concerto. I'm always both excited and nervous to listen to new people. I'm excited at the possibility of it being super awesome and unique, but worried it's going to disappoint me and my ridiculously high standards.
Capucon's rendition was....amazing. His technique makes me jealous. He hits EVERYTHING with impressive accuracy. All those double stops, thumb position, fast technical passages...everything. But what was most enjoyable was his interpretation of this piece. He took some serious tempo liberties that I found pleasantly indulgent. It can be too much very easily, and I can easily brush you off as being too flashy and too full of yourself. This, however, was the perfect balance of ALMOST too much but not. He did things I had never heard before. A difficult feat considering how many I've listened to. I really am a collector at this point. And I thoroughly enjoyed almost all of his interpretations. If I didn't outright enjoy them, I tweaked my head to the side and though, huh, that's interesting, I never thought of it that way. I appreciate those moments, equally.
Dvorak is also physically demanding. If I haven't been actively training for this specific concerto, by the time I get to the bottom of the first page my arm is burning from exertion. I feel super buff by the time I can get through the whole thing. My arms also feel a bit like limp noodles. Buff limp noodles?
That does not sound delicious...
Anyways, loved it. I kind of want to be his friend now.
I did, however, become depressed when I read his bio in the program and discovered he is the same age as I. There's nothing to make you feel bad about yourself than the amazing ability of someone the same age or younger than you! :) That's okay. That's better, in my opinion, than being the superior one in a group of mediocre people, right?