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Russian violinist Viktoria Mullova performs at Seoul Arts Center

Russian violinist Viktoria Mullova performs at Seoul Arts Center

Posted June. 12, 2018 07:39,   

Updated June. 12, 2018 07:39

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Her stiff posture and solid facial expression‎ made her seem like a jointed marionette. Only her right arm moved violently, and the “Ice Queen” held her sternness until the very last note. Various exclamations could be heard throughout the hall. “She isn’t human. She is a computer,” someone even said.

On Friday, Russian violinist Viktoria Mullova walked onto the Concert Hall stage at Seoul Arts Center. The cream mermaid line dress accentuated her height.

She performed Mendelsohn’s violin concerto, one of the most well-known pieces of the German romantic school. The music piece has been praised by many; “Even if this piece was Mendelsohn’s only composition, he would still be as famous as he is today.” The violin concerto has a wide spectrum of tones, varying with the performer.

Mullova played each note quickly and precisely with the stoicism of a monk. The performance was not very heated, but a clear and firm energy could be felt. “The body and emotions go together,” a music industry personnel said. “By restricting movement, the sound is also clear and transparent.”

The “robotic performance” is due to the intensive training she received in Russia. In the 1960s, when a performer had relatively more opportunities to visit the West, Mullova’s parents handed her violin when she was four. “Without a single friend,” she studied at the Central Music School of Moscow and the Moscow Conservatoire. Her consecutive wins at the International Jean Sibelius Violin Competition (1980) and the International Tchaikovsky Competition (1982) led to her debut in the international stage.

“Since 2000, she has been innovatively interpreting music such as Baroque and jazz. British cellist Matthew Barley whom she married in early 1990s is her musical companion. “My husband’s love for music transcends genres, removing the barriers between classic, jazz, Indian and even electronic,” she said. “I am also exploring various repertoires and fully experiencing music.”


Seol Lee snow@donga.com