Don Branko’s Music Days: The concert of Leonidas Kavakos and Yuja Wang​
The two artists who in past few days performed together several times in front of the audience of one of the most important festivals, in Verbier, with diverse programs and in various ensembles – violinist Leonidas Kavakos and pianist Yuja Wang, played in a crowded Church of the Holy Spirit. With their concert at this year’s Don Branko’s Music Days, there continued the practice of presenting the most sought-after artists of today. In this way, KotorArt is leading in comparison to many other events in the region, confirming the quality not only of its program, but also the capability of its management.  Of course, when it comes to such stars, there is never enough room in the hall; the audience was not (only) local, but regional, international.

Leonidas Kavakos is the winner of the biggest violin competitions of his time, and has been enlisted in the history of music industry as the first violinist who recorded the Concerto for Violin and Orchestra by Jean Sibelius. Recognized by her unique mix of technical bravado, musical contemplation and emotional depth, Yuja Wang has become a Steinway Artist and an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon recording artist. At KotorArt, she showed her exceptional intellectual abilities, because in spite of great engagement, she quickly learns new compositions, reviews previously played pieces, and easily adapts to the sensibilities of different colleagues.

At the beginning of the concert, the artists performed the Violin Sonata in B-flat major (K 454) by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, naturally immersing in the laws of a classical piece, in order to express their equality, although belonging to different age generations, in the Violin Sonata in F minor, No. 1, Op. 80 by Sergei Prokofiev. This piece, which leaves an emotional impression and at the same time stimulates contemplating about life, was a challenge for artists not only technically – because for them a technical difficulty of the program is implicit – but also expressively. By making a sharp turn to the dark poetic of Prokofiev – the piece was created during the Second World War, the artists revived the author’s thoughts which are beyond the scope of rational, and whose culmination can be resumed in the endings of the first and final movement of the Sonata, in the “gliding” scales in violin, which composer himself connected to the wind that passed through the cemetery. With their interpretation, Kavakos and Yuja attracted the audience’s maximum attention, who listened to music in absolute silence: even in short intervals between the movements, when the audience usually coughs and makes themselves comfortable in their seats, total peace prevailed.

The artists guided to the brighter moods in the second part of the concert, especially through the Rhapsody No. 1 by Béla Bartók, which with its folklore citation made the audience being attached to it from its very beginning. For the end, there was performed a romantic piece, Sonata for Violin and Piano in E flat major, Op. 18 by Richard Strauss.

When it comes to artistic events, there are dramatic performances, art exhibitions, musical concerts after which one is emotionally fulfilled, questioned in search for answers, or just satisfied and filled with positive energy. In this respect, it is obvious that the artists did not intend to leave the audience in a kind of philosophical contemplation (Prokofiev), or an appealing verbunkos (Bartók), but in a lyrical atmosphere filled with pathos of youthful emotions (Strauss). Still, it could have been different. Even without Mozart. The only question is with what kind of final impression one wants to go home. 
Boris Marković