It’s been about 40 hours since I heard violinist Lara St. John play Beethoven’s G-Major Violin Sonata (Op. 30, No. 3) with American pianist Anne-Marie McDermott at the Cartagena International Music Festival, and I’m still trying to process everything I heard.
It was like a colourized old movie with the saturation of the new hues turned up to Andy Warhol levels. It was in-your-face garish. It was a partygoer wearing too much makeup and half a bottle of perfume.
And it was incredibly compelling, particularly for the collaboration between pianist and violinist. They literally played as one, as if they’d spent years honing their unified vision of how to present a recital and interpret this work in particular.
I bumped into St. John last night and asked her how long she and McDermott had been working together.
“We’ve just met,” answered the violinist. “Anne-Marie is the consummate professional. I said, why don’t we do it like this and like this, and she said, sure. She even remembered everything I said.”
They had two rehearsal hours together before the public concert.
That, caballeros y caballeras, is the picture of a true accompanist.
I’m hoping to catch McDermott before I leave Cartagena. But, in case I don’t sit down with her, here is a snippet of some pretty special solo piano work — J.S. Bach’s keyboard Partita No. 1 — followed by a short making-of video (dog lovers need to wait for the last 15 seconds):