I had the tremendous fortune to be in Toronto on the day that Stefano Montanari was giving a master class. Two professional violinists played sonatas by Italian composers from the early baroque times. Mr. Montanari played a sonata by Castello. All were accompanied by the Toronto Continuo Collective.
I think this was the best music lesson I have been to - as Mr. Montanari shared his musical ideas through explanations, playing his violin, singing and gesturing in the most expressive and eloquent way. I was so moved by his playing, so amazed by his pure pianissimo passages, and astounded by his virtuosic fast passages, all played to tell the story of the music in a convincing and elucidating way. His clear communication transformed the playing of the two violinists as they questioned their motives in interpreting various passages and experimented with alternate ways of expression.
I felt I had been in the presence of some musical magic. I know I, in my own way, have been transformed. Though I can never reach the heights of these players, I will be questioning more my musical interpretation and trying to go further from just playing the notes.