Alexander Woods, concert artist and Professor of Violin at BYU, played and led the orchestra in a brilliant performance of the Mozart Violin Concerto Number 4, a very joyful and uplifting piece.
My friend and I had gone to the concert early enough to get into the pre-concert lecture. Usually the conductor or one of his associates gives background information on the concert music. This time, Alex Woods was taking questions about the Mozart Concerto and his own musical training and career. He also showed us his violin. He explained that it was made in 1743 by a famous violin maker. It had been donated to BYU by a collector and it has been his privilege to play it ever since.
Mr. Woods explained that playing an instrument is like being in a relationship with another human being. You really have to get to know each other to understand how to work well together. He demonstrated by showing how he had to experiment to find just where and how to play on the strings to unlock their unique brilliance and subtleties. "It is humbling to think that I am playing on an instrument that is older than the United States of America -- older by 30 years!" He said that he sometimes thinks of himself as just another "passenger" on this violin's journey on earth. He supposed that it will continue long after he is gone.
He was asked about different styles of music he has played and if he had a favorite. He said that he enjoyed many different styles of music and regularly had opportunities to premiere new works by contemporary composers. But if he was marooned on an island with just his violin and one composer's music, he would have to choose Mozart. Although he enjoys all types of music, many composers write music that is dark or moody or just plain sad. He said that the music of Mozart contains such a wide variety of elements that it is always interesting and uplifting.
"I would choose Mozart because then I would be happy."