Dizdari’s divine performance

Alda Dizdari’s performance was an intimate concert given in a setting engineered to maximise musical enjoyment.

The National Museum’s Queen Exhibition Hall, designed by Royal Army engineer Francis Fowke, has an intricately vaulted brick ceiling to make it bombproof as well as able to withstand internal explosion.

But more importantly for us, it is a marvellous acoustic reflector — especially for the music which Dizdari, a virtuoso violinist, and the local string ensemble proceeded to give us.

The quality of the live sound of these musicians in this setting was perfect.

First up was Bach’s Violin Concerto in A Minor. Easily confused with one of the Brandenburg or the Double Violin concertos, this work precedes them and belongs to the period where Bach was exploring the works of Vivaldi and using mastery of counterpoint through contrasting part playing, which Dizdari explained “makes all the parts convene”.

She was completely involved with the music, playing with all her body and with total emotional commitment, especially in the deeply emotive second movement which, in turn, gave way to a burst of joyousness in the final gigue.

After prolonged applause, Dizdari introduced the second item, a favourite: Elgar’s Serenade for Strings. It’s interesting to note that Albanian-born Dizdari is the author of a book about the composer (Kiss Me Again: A Memoir of Elgar in Unusual Places) and has pioneered performances of his major works in former Eastern bloc countries where his music was virtually unknown.

She explained that, for her, Serenade reflects the composer’s deep spirituality and his love of humanity and nature. The first movement evokes the countryside of the Malvern Hills where the composer lived. The second movement was hymnlike with an overarching spirituality, ending with a gentle and romantic dance.

Two contrasting Argentinian tangos followed: Carlos Gardel’s traditional 1935 Por Una Cabeza, a gentle habanera, followed by Astor Piazzolla’s Libertango, which symbolised his break into modern tango music in 1974.

Dizdari’s playing was accordingly percussive and showy. It accelerated to a driving final flourish that met with thunderous applause. She completed the concert with the exquisitely simple, deeply felt and hugely moving Meditation by Massenet.

Alda Dizdari played Sunday at Queen Elizabeth Hall in Dockyard, Monday at Heritage Square, St George’s and Tuesday and Wednesday at Ruth Seaton James as part of the Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts.