Take a trip with Mozart concerto

By William Dart

Violinist Chloe Hanslip
Violinist Chloe Hanslip

'The wonderful thing about music is that no one will play a work exactly the same as someone else," says English violinist Chloe Hanslip.

In New Zealand to play Mozart with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra on Thursday, the 29-year-old hasn't changed a whit since her last visit three years ago and patiently fields questions about her early prodigy days and recording her first album at just 12 years old.

She's happy to talk more about the violinists who influenced her, from Nathan Milstein and Ida Haendel to David Oistrakh and Leonid Kogan. She stresses the importance of an individual and personal sound that uniquely moulds a musician's interpretation.

"Different performances open up so many avenues. Each may be memorable in its own way but no two will be exactly alike."

We talk violins; Hanslip is more than happy with her 1737 Guarneri del Gesu, the same instrument that, in 2014, brought John Corigliano's Red Violin concerto almost cinematically to life in Auckland Town Hall.

"I love it to pieces," she says. "After eight years living with it, I'm still surprised by its different colours and the tonal worlds I can find in it. It's got a relatively dark sound, particularly on the lower strings, which suits me well when I need a warm, full-bodied fortissimo, and yet I can play a whisper of a pianissimo and it still speaks."

Last month, Hanslip received rapturous reviews in London for her Sibelius concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. It's a favourite, she says, and we laugh about the terrors it holds in having to cope with the legacy of the many fine violinists who have played it before.

"But it's such a phenomenal piece with such depth and passion and, although I listen to recordings, the most important thing is to study the score and know what goes on in the orchestra," she says. "After all, we're just the vessel through which the composer speaks."

I'm warned not to expect anything like the anguished soulfulness of Sibelius' second movement with next week's Mozart concerto, the last of five he wrote in just one year when he was 19.

"These concertos have so much joy," Hanslip says. "They're so fresh and open that they really welcome you on the journey that they offer."

APO's music director Giordano Bellincampi accompanies her on that Mozartian trip.
She's played alongside him throughout Europe, including a Finnish performance of Bruch's rarely-heard Third Concerto.

"Giordano is a dream to work with. He's always there if I decide to do something slightly different in the final performance because, after all, that's what makes music into a living, breathing and organic experience."

What: Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Hanslip Plays Mozart
Where and when: Auckland Town Hall, Thursday at 8pm

- NZ Herald

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