On Tuesday of this week I heard a husband and wife team of Soviet/Israeli
expatriates perform various pieces for violin and piano. The violinist
was Vadim Gluzman, whose transforming moment in life came at the age of
16, when Isaac Stern met him in 1991 in Jerusalem and said, "I'll give
you five minutes." Five minutes later a friendship was born, and Stern
was instrumental in his young friend's professional development. The
duo played Tartini's Devil Trill Sonata, Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata,
Prokofiev's Sonata #2 for violin and piano, and transcriptions from the
Barber of Seville and Fiddler on the Roof.
In this crowd I hesitate to comment on musicianship of the performers, but
I thought they were superb. Hearing the Prokofiev live for the first time
made this music come alive for me in a way it had not on my home stereo.
It seemed to me that Yoffe would occasionally look at her husband with a
mixture of pleasure, admiration and affection during the performance. I
gather Gluzman and Yoffe are better known to European audiences than they
are in the US, but I don't think anyone on this list would regret hearing
this pair perform.
Now, where does Runnion fit into this scene? Well, according to the
program notes, Mr. Gluzman "plays on the 1690 outstanding ex-Leopold Auer
Stradivari on extended loan through the Stradivari Society of Chicago."