Festival stages still dazzling in Newport — it’s a tradition

Author: Channing Gray

Journal Arts Writer

More importantly, the festival managed to deliver when it came to the musical offering. That was Tedi Papavrami, a young Albanian-born fiddler now living in Paris. Papavrami, slight and rather dour, may not have had a lot of stage presence, but, boy, could he play the violin.

Papavrami, who brought his own accompanist, French pianist Christophe Larrieu, roared impressively through the recital’s two big show pieces: Sarasate’s soupy Zigeunerweisen and Saint-Saen’s Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso. But it was during Cesar Franck’s A. Major Sonata especially the score’s shimmering slow movement, that he proved he had more to offer than miraculous fingers. That was the kind of suave, reflective performance you might expect from a 60-year-old, not someone in his 20s.

It was also the kind of performance audiences have come to expect in Newport, which has become a show-case for brilliant, if unknown talent. Malkovich told listeners he tracked Papavrami down after hearing him on the radio while vacationing in St. Barts. The young fiddler was born in Albania, “discovered” when he was 10 and shipped off to Paris to study.

In a nod to his homeland, Papavrami slipped a set of dances by Albanian composer Aleksander Peci into the second half of his program: tuneful pieces with an exotic gypsy cast.

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