The stage was bare except for the gleaming grand piano. The setting was perfect; the audience needed no distractions when Vadim Gluzman and Angela Yoffe performed their magic; him on his Stradivarius (on extended loan through the generosity of the Chicago Stradivari Society), her at the piano.
The Gluzman-Yoffe combination is far from new, but that permutation set the tone for the rest of the evening at the Recanati Auditorium of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art on Saturday night.
In a brief introduction Mr. Gluzman told of his "Tale of Four Cities" (apologies to Charles Dickens) – Riga, Tel Aviv, New York and Chicago. Not surprisingly, the dominant language in the audience was Russian. He had his first violin lesson (in Riga) at age seven and he hasn't stopped playing since. "I can't imagine my life without my violin", he added.
The second enchanting combination of the evening was the choice of pieces: first a Mozart sonata, then one by Prokofiev, followed by Stravinsky's "Suite Italienne" and Tchaikovsky's "Souvenir d'un Lieu Cher". The finale was a short Castelnuovo-Tedesco piece from Figaro, the Barber of Seville. The choice, the combination, both of composers and of the selections, gave Ms. Yoffe a glorious opportunity to demonstrate her wide range of skills and styles, while Mr. Gluzman was nothing short of breathtaking on the violin. Such virtuosity - and they make it look so easy! Clearly, both artists had fun while they worked hard to dazzle the audience. And dazzle they did.
Before the performance, I chatted briefly with a friend. She told me that she had "discovered" the Gluzman-Yoffe team when they first arrived in Israel in the early 1990s, and has been a fan ever since. "You'll love this concert", she said. "They will wow you off your seat".
Was she ever right. I shall look forward to attending more performances by this outstanding husband-wife duo.