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The Italian violinist recalls how the great soloists of the 20th century had similar feelings about the Beethoven Violin Concerto – and why it left them terrified

On a concert tour of Japan in the mid- 1970s, I had to give 25 performances of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in 28 days. What I remember most about that experience is that every time I went on stage, it was as if I was playing it for the first time. This is the quality of a genuine masterpiece: it always feels fresh, each rendition feels like a new interpretation, and you can always find something different to say. It’s what I call the miracle of great music, and there are very few works in the violin repertoire that can be called that.

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About The Strad

We talk to the members of the Belcea Quartet and ask why more young people are turning to period performance. Students of Kató Havas pay tribute to the late violin teacher, and there’s a look at asymmetric instruments. Plus a Mendelssohn Masterclass and Renaud Capuçon’s Life Lessons.