For a second time inside a month or so, the cultural attachee at the Austrian embassy had a marvelous show. She is leaving just as she's getting off to a good start. Again the place was jammed with people -- perhaps because of the excessive heat outside. Inside all was cool She told us "even two Austrians" played a violin and piano could show stir us dazzlingly, and they did. Michael Kahr on the piano just flowed
Barbara Helfgott's arm went red with the effort, intensity, of her violin playing, from the 1960s through to Michael Jackson, each decade the most familiar and yet rousing strains. That violin sang out. Miss Izzy can tell you some of the songs.
Airbrushed: she's not so young or wrinkle free, but she is as wild on the violin as someone on a guitar or drum.
It was called Mozart to Michael Jackson and for an encore the audience called out "Mozart" because there had been none. It was a few famous classical pieces and traditional Viennese music and then pop and melodies from popular musicals and then recent rock.
Alas, Mozart had nothing that was susceptible to violin and piano so the young man had to stand aside. She did a piece from the Magic Flute with no music in front of her! Actually she had none in front of her the whole time. I saw how exhilarated she was with her power.
About them who are worth going to hear:
Violin soloist, singer and concertmaster Barbara Helfgott was born close to Vienna. The winner of many national and international prizes, performs regularly at the Sommerfestspiele in Mörbisch and appears in productions for television and radio. Since 1995, she has been the artistic manager and solo violinist of the ensemble Rondo Vienna, a group of up to 25 women musicians. The ensemble performed in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Dubai and in major cities throughout Europe.
Michael Kahr is a freelance pianist, composer and arranger living in Vienna. He is also a Postdoctoral Researcher and Senior Lecturer at the Institutes for Jazz and Jazz Research at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz.
Full disclosure: they had a tape providing drums, xylophone and other percussion instruments as background.
And for one the phrase the place rocked is actually accurate. People were clapping at moments.
There was a show of paintings but it was so crowded, there had not been an intermission and the people were going out so we could not stop to see it. A drive in an air-conditioned car back through uncrowded streets. The super-rich of Foxhall and across Key Bridge and home.
For free, mind. It is in Northern Washington and nearby these Arabian embassies with iron gates, looking forbidding. This place has no vast enclosing iron gate. Just a door.