Violinist extraordinaire Sarah Saviet brought a cheering sold out audience to its feet at Mishkan Torah on Aug. 26. Sarah performed only days before she was scheduled to leave for Berlin, Germany to study for a Master’s Degree at the University of the Arts in performance on Fulbright, and Germany University funded DAAD grants. Sarah last performed at Mishkan Torah on her twenty-second birthday, March 13, 2011, in the second of Mishkan Torah’s Young Performers Series.
Sarah played a challenging series of both classic and contemporary works. The audience’s enjoyment of the program was enhanced by her lucid and learned explanations of each piece she played. She opened with a cornerstone of the violin chamber repertory, the Sonata in G major by Johannes Brahms. She was accompanied on the piano by her accompanist for the afternoon Italian-Jewish pianist and composer Simone Baron, who is now studying piano at Oberlin Conservatory in Oberlin, Ohio.
Sarah next played two dazzling contemporary works, the Riconoscenza per Geofreddo Petrassi by centarian composer Elliot Carter, and Inscriptions by Israeli-American composer Shulamit Ran. Sarah explained Riconoscenza as a piece which creates different musical characters and personalities. The different characters, some humorous and others more somber, were evident from Sarah’s playing. Inscriptions featured a number of folk melodies, and a rapidly paced conclusion.
Sarah commenced the second half of the program by playing the Nocturne by American composer John Cage in honor of the centennial celebration of that composer’s birth. She concluded by playing two showpieces abounding in pyrotechnics. She first played the Solo Sonata Op. 27, No. 5 by the late nineteenth and early twentieth century Belgian violinist, professor, conductor and composer Eugene Ysaye.
For her grand finale, Sarah took on the exciting Tzigane by Maurice Ravel. That work is a whirlwind of gypsy themes which had the audience clapping and tapping along with the music. The enthusiastic audience cheered each work, and gave Sarah a series of standing ovations.
After the concert, there was a cake to honor Sarah and to bid her farewell. There can be little doubt that her talent and stage presence will take her to the world’s great musical venues. Her music-making at Mishkan Torah made for a memorable afternoon for everyone privileged to be there!
Greenbelt Photojournalist Eric Zhang prepared a wonderful blog with his inimitable photos of the concert.