In turbulent times, says the violinist touring Australia, compassion becomes the stock in trade of composers and musicians.

The first music that I played by Bartók was the Divertimento for Strings. It would have been my first piece with orchestra when I was at school and I would have been 12 years old. At the time I thought it was quite difficult, but since then I have loved Bartók’s music very much. I learned the Solo Sonata after the Divertimento, and I wanted to learn the Second Violin Concerto for a very long time before I finally managed it last year. I played it a few times last year, so I guess I’m relatively new to it, but I’m really enjoying it.

Bartók’s Second Violin Concerto was composed during a fairly turbulent period in Europe. Like every composer, we musicians deal with compassion, so turbulent times in the world always come across in music. I think composers – and really anyone who’s creative – has to be sensitive to what happens around them. That means there is maybe more pain in the music. But maybe there is hope or some kind of celebration for people when there isn’t enough...

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