Yes, I have been offline for quite a while now, lying in bed with a terrible cold since Sunday. But yesterday I was even back to school and hence also back to my blog! An event that lies back a week by now but that I have still not written about due to my illness, is the wonderful concert by the famous German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter which took place in the Hong Kong Cultural Centre last Saturday night. She gave her début with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. When I saw her poster in Victoria Harbor some weeks before, I was instantly thrilled and really excited. Playing the violin myself since the age of five, Anne-Sophie Mutter had always been one of the artists I wanted to see on stage. And here she was in Hong Kong! Originally, Mutter was supposed to play Dvořák’s Violin Concerto, but apparently it was changed to Mendelssohn in the last minute. Yet, this did not devalue her performance one bit.
When I ordered my ticket, everybody was very surprised that I had still gotten ahold of one. “When she came to Hong Kong a couple of years ago, the tickets were sold out within hours,” a friend told me. I seemed to be very lucky. When I sat behind the orchestra on the balcony of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre that night though, I realized that even though the concert hall was generally really full and most seats in the middle were filled, there were still some free patches in every sitting area. Since I was happy with my spot – I saw Mutter only from her back, but well see the conductor Michael Francis and the orchestra musicians – I did not bother too much about those empty seats. After all, it was about the music, right? And the music itself was breathtaking.
Anne-Sophie Mutter is without doubt one of the best violinists in the world, and her performance of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto gave me goosebumps. I could only see her back – a back strained with muscles – but the light flow of her arms, producing such clear and beautiful music, was hypnotizing. I could see the musicians gaze at her in awe and delight, and the expressions on the faces in the audience weren’t very different. The music seemed to be born out of the touch between bow and violin, crept through the air and slid into our ears and hearts. Absolutely marvelous!
During the break I saw a sign announcing an “autograph session” by the violinist, yet the number of people to see her was limited to no more that eighty. I had planned to sneak out of the concert a little earlier, so I could stand in line and maybe have a short conversation, or even an interview with Anne-Sophie Mutter, but when the applause started and I thought about getting up and into the line, hordes of people – mainly parents with their young children – ran for the door. I hesitated, got up, hesitated again. When I had seen enough people rushing for the autograph line, I decided to stay. The applause seemed to be never-ending; Mutter was called back in over and over again, and the sound of the audience clapping and cheering didn’t decrease at all for at least five minutes. “Bravo! Bravo!” When Anne-Sophie Mutter put her violin back under her chin and lifted her bow for one last time, I was really glad I had stayed in my seat. Like this, I was able to listen to her additional piece and be taken into the world of violin music one last time for that night. The Mendelssohn Concerto accompanied me all the way back to campus on the MTR, quietly playing in my mind. What a great concert and what a fantastic evening!