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Whenever I feel discouraged or uninspired, I listen to Sarasate’s Zigeunerweisen and I get the same exhilaration I felt when I first heard this piece. As a 7th grader who had played the violin for years but never fostered a liking for music, I was not really interested in the master class that day. Then, I heard music:
The tragic C minor chord arpeggio from the orchestra opens the piece. The soloist takes the melody over, starting with the same arpeggio and taking it further. The melody is so beautiful, but there is a dangerous freedom to it. Maybe what I see is a lonely dancer, intoxicated by alcohol, passionately dancing. The scene is blurry. I notice a red that splashes across the whole scene. Bright red like wavering flames. Dangerous and powerful, and yet beautiful the red is, enthralling my mind. I leave my body and my thoughts to this anguished but passionate melody.
A few moments later, a whole new scene appears. Bouncing his bow on the string, a musician welcomes us to the party. Fireworks explode in the clear dark sky of a small town where the townspeople are having a festival. As the fiddler plays different variations of the melody, the people respond. I immerse myself in that torrent of sounds and let the waves take me wherever they lead. I join those people in the crazy Gypsy Air.
It was a whole new world. I only peeked through the massive gate of music, but the scene I saw, the sounds I heard, the emotion I felt was completely overwhelming. Until today, the scenes I saw still continue to appear whenever I revisit the piece.