During my senior year in high school, it was announced that my idol, Itzhak Perlman, was coming to Boise to perform in the Morrison Center. Long before the Internet, or even call-waiting, my parents dialed the ticket office as soon as sales were open and hit re-dial repeatedly for hours, until they were able to get through and purchase three tickets. We drove two hours to attend the concert, and then two hours afterwards to get home very late. The concert was magical--I couldn't believe I was getting to hear this great violinist in person! I enjoyed all of his program, but the most riveting selection for me was Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata. I have wanted to play it ever since.
I sort of got a chance when I was at the University of Utah, in very unique circumstances. The U's Theater department was putting on The Physicists, by the Swiss playwright Friedrich Dürrenmatt. The play takes place in an insane asylum, where two men believe they are the great scientists Newton and Einstein, and a third patient has visions in which King Solomon teaches him secrets of the universe. Einstein was an accomplished violinist, and the man who thinks he is Einstein plays the violin to calm his nerves. The sounds of his screeching the Kreutzer Sonata are heard in the background while much of the action is occurring on stage. That is where I came in! My work-study boss was involved in the drama department, and when she was asked to find a violin major to record the Kreutzer being played badly, she enlisted my help. I came into the recording session and essentially sight-read the first movement along with a pianist who did the same. When I later attended the play, I thought my part was all-too believable--I sounded very much like an insane man playing a difficult piece very badly!
So why did I wait so long to program this wonderful piece for a "real" performance? I don't know--like many worthy goals, it has been delayed until the "right" time and the "right" circumstances, with the "right" pianist (My wonderful collaborator in Trebelle, Robyn Wells). We have set a date in mid-October, and so I will enjoy spending time on this wonderful music through the summer. I will also be playing the Brahms' A Major Sonata, which is another gem.