Recital in Houston

How could one note repeated four times show such demonstrative power to render a simple folk tune visceral? When violinist Itamar Zorman performed Josef Achron's Hebrew Melody, I couldn't be certain whether the dolorous strain was appealing to my Jewish ancestry or unearthing something deeper, perchance a primal yearning to return to a home of which I am not yet conscious. 

I allowed myself to cry. I wasn't the only one. The work was the encore for Zorman's recent recital at Wortham Theater Center hosted by Society for the Performing Arts.

Up until then, I was prepared to jot down a glowing review, the kind that is dotted with Hollywood-type movie remarks flashing across a silver screen — like riveting, gripping and two thumbs up. But in addition to having to scheme my escape in hopes of avoiding colleagues— because who wants to see a grown man cry — the whole premise of my critique was shot to hell.

What's puzzling is how someone at a young age is able to subsume so much aesthetic puissance into miniscule sonorities? That I couldn't explain. Unless that's his 1745 Pietro Guarneri talking (on loan from Yehuda Zisapel's private collection), growing up in a musical family with a composer for a father and a pianist for a mother, or his studies at Juilliard and the Manhattan School of Music.

Surely, that's part of it, but not all. Whatever it is, I was able to understand finally why the Goettinger Tageblatt described Zorman as a "virtuoso of emotions."

It wasn't your typical chronological recital...

Culture Map Houston, March 19, 2012