The closest one can define the experience is like that of travelling through Matopos National Park with all its dips, peaks and undulations. Add a sputtering of prancing gazelles onto that canvas.
By Admire Kudita
Now imagine waterfalls that look like bridal veils cascading on to imaginary riverbeds. Thus the music of Ludwig van Beethoven, Brahms and others percolated into the collective consciousness of the audience that sat as quietly as one must do in an awe-inspiring majestic church as interpreted by a consummate artist in her element.
Sarita Uranovsky (pictured), a US-based native of Cape Town with a Master’s degree in music, amongst her many glittering accomplishments and training, charmed local classical music lovers with her violin at the Academy of Music in Bulawayo last week. She performed with the revered Jeanette Micklem accompanying her on piano.
Uranovsky’s “exceptionally active and diverse career as soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, orchestral musician and teacher across the globe” stood her in good stead as she served up an exquisite classical music repertoire which featured: Dvořák: Romance in F Minor, Op. 11, Beethoven: Sonata No. 5 in F Major, Op. 24 — “Spring”, Sarasate: Romanza Andaluza, Op. 22, No. 1, Brahms: Sonata No. 1 in G Major, Op. 78 and her rousing finale Smetana: From My Homeland (1880). She shares her thoughts on a variety of classical music issues.
On classical music as a vocation: “I am in a very lucky spot. I live in Boston and there is a huge cultural and musical life there. So there is never a lack of opportunity to perform and to do various things. I teach I perform in orchestras, I do solo things. On any given night in Boston there are 10 concerts or more.”
On recording music: “You can choose to do that or not. I personally do not like recording. I feel it’s a very static place. I prefer the live element. Most of my concerts have been recorded live but it’s not the same as sitting in a studio and breaking it down which I also do but I enjoy it less.”
On the classical music tradition: “Well, we have a lot of training and we have a lot of history so it’s a combination of that and personal touch that you put. And also I have played this concert seven times in the last two weeks and even then it evolves because no two performances are the same.
“Everything … you know you are creating every night for the very first time that night and I use all my knowledge, all my history all my experiences of performing, to be able to make choices all the time. I do respect the genre and style periods but it’s all within a framework of lots of understanding and lots of history.”
On classical music style conventions and pressure to pay homage: “Absolutely, style periods are most important. You play within a context of that and put your own stamp on that.
There always is (pressure), for example Mozart; everybody has an opinion about Mozart. He is probably the composer about whom people will say ‘it’s (the artist’s interpretation) is too that or it’s too this’. It’s difficult to please everybody. I am doing what I feel is right for me today and I hope people will enjoy whatever it is I am trying to say.”
On what classical means to her: “I don’t know, for me classical music is just the way I express myself. You know, a lot of people paint or they sing … It is just my medium within a very structured framework which I like. I like that you can’t just do whatever you like, you have to do it within a structure which gives you guidelines.
“But then there is a lot of freedom once you appreciate it and you accept the structure. Everything is structured.
“But it’s fluid, it’s live. I am not here to dictate what you will experience, I am here to dictate that you experience. So I want you to feel that you have been on a journey and that I have been your guide.”
Uranovsky and her able Zimbabwean accompanist Jeanette Micklem transported the audience with a virtuoso performance that some described as akin to travelling through “a wondrous soundscape”.
She subsequently left Zimbabwe the following day rightly satisfied that she had delivered indeed.