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Timothy Fain and the romance of the violin

By Michael Pearl

Will Ransom

Virtuoso violinist Tim Fain, back in San Miguel by overwhelming popular demand, will perform two concerts for Pro Musica on Saturday and Sunday, December 7 and 8, at 5pm at St. Paul’s Church, calle Cardo 6. Fain’s career has soared; the “charismatic young violinist with a matinee idol profile, strong musical instincts and first rate chops” (Boston Globe) was most recently seen on screen and heard on the soundtrack of the hit film The Black Swan, and heard as the sound of Richard Gere’s violin in the feature film Bee Season. A dynamic and compelling performer in traditional works, he is also a fervent champion of 20th and 21st century composers; as the Los Angeles Times recently noted, his career “is based, in part, on new music and new ways of thinking about classical music.” A native of Santa Monica, California, Fain is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and the Juilliard School. He performs on a violin made by Francesco Gobetti in Venice (1717), the Moller.

Pro Musica Concert Series
Violinist Timothy Fain, accompanied by pianist Will Ransom
Sat & Sun, Dec 7 & 8, 5pm
St. Paul’s Church
Calle Cardo 6
100/200/300 pesos

Fain will be accompanied by Will Ransom on the piano. More accurately, we should say that Ransom is Fain’s collaborative pianist. Ransom has appeared in recital, as soloist with orchestras and as a chamber musician in Eastern and Western Europe, Japan, Korea, South America, Mexico and throughout the United States. Born in Boston, Ransom began his musical studies at an early age. He was a scholarship student of William Masselos at the Juilliard School and he also worked with Theodore Lettvin at the University of Michigan and Madame Gaby Casadesus at the Ravel Academy in France. Ransom is currently the Mary L. Emerson Professor of Piano and head of the piano faculty at Emory University in Atlanta.

The two concerts will have entirely different programs, so why not come to both and enjoy a cornucopia of music? On Saturday, Fain will demonstrate that he is one of the few violinists able to transverse a huge variety of musical genres and periods and maintain their separate identities. The program features an exciting cornucopia of composers whose works span a wide girth, from the 17th to the 20th century.

Bach’s Partita in B Minor will showcase Fain’s remarkable technical skill. Glazunov’s Meditation will fill the air with exceptional expressive beauty. Love awakening in spring or a stroll across a meadow of wild flowers comes to mind in this romantic three-minute piece. The sweet lyricism of Tchaikovsky seems to infuse the melody. Muly’s Drones is an innovative work, which clearly defines Fain’s remarkable arrangement acumen.

Composers Pablo de Sarasate and the whimsical Henryk Wieniawsky pump up the program’s flavors with exotic compositional twists on the tarantella dance theme. Added to this mix is Britell’s Tango della Notte. Indeed, the program is so eclectic that references to the past and present put the known with the lesser known. Everyone is familiar with the extremely sweet melody of the Mendelssohn/Kreisler’s Song without Words. Such plaintive music! It is so heartfelt, any budding poet is sure to put his/her own words to this inspiring work. It is graceful in sentiment, as the eternally appealing melody captures our attention and awakens our emotion. Sometimes, the simplest is the most sublime. Fritz Kreisler was the greatest violinist of his time.

Equally stirring is the F Major Sonata by Mendelssohn. It reveals the composer’s darker side while enriching the classical mood of this ambitious program. Sinding’s cleverly colorful piece, Moto Perpetuo, will have you thinking a bee is flying around your ear, but it’s merely the mesmerizing playing of Fain producing his own brilliant violin buzz.

Sunday’s program contains an equal mixture of fascinating virtuoso pieces, styles and periods of music, and I will write about these in my article in Atención next week. In collaboration with this weekend of music making we will be showing the film The Black Swan, in which Fain not only plays all the violin music, but also appears. This will be on Friday, December 6, at 5 pm, Teatro Santa Ana in the Biblioteca. Tickets are available only at the Biblioteca.

Tickets for the concerts, at 100, 200 and 300 pesos donation each, are available at La Tienda in the Biblioteca, Insurgentes 25; Solutions, Mesones 57; La Conexión, Aldama 3; St. Paul’s Church, calle Cardo 6, Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm, and at the door half an hour before the concert begins.

The quality of the music, opera and dance Pro Musica brings to San Miguel, our unique Rhythm, Rhyme & Reason program, teaching music in underprivileged schools in the campo, and our work in the city’s orphanages, costs increasing amounts of money to provide. The best way to help us fund our activities is to become a Patron Member. Patron membership costs as little US$100 per year, is US tax-deductible, and includes many benefits, such as complimentary concert tickets and Meet the Artists suppers and cocktail parties. For information on all of Pro Musica’s concerts for the 2013-2014 season and Patron Membership, please visit our website:


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