Julia Fischer’s violin playing is an exercise in effortlessness. As the 28 year old German lifts her 1742 Guardagnini to her chin, her left hand caresses the strings across the finger board up towards the instrument’s bridge as if to reassure herself that they are all in place and ready to sing.
Her eyes close and her chest lifts in a deep inhalation as her right arm controls her bow’s first downward trajectory – a sweeping gesture as if pushing an unwanted intruder away. With this movement we are immediately engulfed in her music making. Fischer and her instrument are one. And we, her audience begin to fly.
Fischer is a violinist’s violinist. Her playing shuns the showy pyrotechnics of Maxim Vengerov or Nigel Kennedy, though her technical virtuosity easily matches theirs. During her brief interview with Radio 3’s Catherine Bott between works at her recent lunchtime chamber Prom at Cadogan Hall (August 16th) her answer to how can she bring something new to a beloved warhorse like the Franck A Major sonata was, ‘I don’t like the pressure on performers to always bring something new. The Franck is great music and great music is always worth repeating. To bring something new is, I think, an unnecessary expectation.’
A modest yet perfectly sound response to our endless desire for novelty. Fischer is wise. Bott, and we the audience, humbly concurred.