Berliner Philharmoniker

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Chamber Music

Leonidas Kavakos Violin

Members of the Berliner Philharmoniker

Igor Stravinsky

Septet for violin, viola, cello, clarinet, bassoon, horn and piano

Henri Dutilleux

Les Citations for oboe, double bass, harpsichord and percussion

Ludwig van Beethoven

Septet in E flat major


Thu, 20 Sep 2012 8 p.m.



When the legendary Ysaÿe pupil Josef Gingold heard the audition tape submitted by Leonidas Kavakos, he first thought it must be a hoax: was it possible to play Paganini’s breakneck Caprices so flawlessly and musically without any technological processing? When an expert confirmed that the tape had not been manipulated, Gingold immediately accepted the young Greek as his pupil.

Today Kavakos (b. 1967) is one of the greatest violin virtuosos of his generation – even if he views the word “virtuoso” with a highly critical eye: “There is hardly a concept in the musical world that is so often misunderstood. We call a virtuoso nowadays someone who has an outstanding technique. But a virtuoso is rather the opposite of that. ‘Virtuoso’ comes from ‘virtus’, or ‘virtue’. That has nothing to do with fast notes. A virtuoso isn’t somebody with unlimited technical abilities. It’s someone who can convey a message – something that goes beyond dexterity.”

At the first concert of his residency with the Berliner Philharmoniker, Leonidas Kavakos will join members of the orchestra for Igor Stravinsky’s two-movement Septet (whose first movement is neo-classical, its second serial) as well as Beethoven’s Septet op. 20, which was already hailed in 1826 by the reviewer of the Allgemeiner musikalischer Anzeiger as “a richly melodious work ... magnificent in effect, which could suffice on its own to identify the splendid qualities of Beethoven’s early period.”


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