Sunday, September 26, 2010

Why fiddle-shredding is like watching Alegria

Posted on Sun, Sep 26, 2010 at 5:36 PM

  Drummers twirl their drumsticks. Rock stars shred their guitars. Philippe Quint waggles his fingers while sawing away on his fiddle.  He's a rock star on violin.

OK, so normally you wouldn't much care about a 36-year-old guy playing a a two-centuries' old showpiece by some Italian named Paganini (even if his 302-year-old violin, heard live, creates sounds better than any stereo system you've ever heard). 

But if you had been at the Fox this weekend for Quint's encore, you'd have been shaking your head and grinning along with everyone else. Quint played double-stops and arpeggios out the wazoo, then attacked with his bow while waggling his left-hand fingers in the air, then continued to playing multiple notes while using his bow hand, playfully, to wipe his brow.

Just because he can. Just like a hero in a rock 'n' roll band.

(And even if you don't know anything about playing a violin, you smile because you can just tell that he's doing something remarkable. I don't know anything about gymnastics, either -- but at Alegria, you shake your head in disbelief that anyone can do what they do ... even if you don't completely understand it.)

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