The Solo Traveller's View

David Garrett’s Musical Magic


An attempted Analysis of a Musical Phenomenon – Part 3

The question has been asked: What is it that distinguishes David Garrett from other violinists? Those that worked nearly as hard as he did in their childhood and now play almost as well? Those that play in an orchestra instead of centre-stage? – The great conductor Zubin Mehta, David’s long-time friend and mentor, put it like this: “You need to have the sound of a soloist, and the temperament of a soloist … He has both.”

68 Bach Sonata No 2 - Andante

But there is also David’s ability to take any hackneyed tune you hoped never to hear again – O sole mio, O Tannenbaum, O whatever – and to make it shiny and new, like the spinning of straw to gold in a fairytale. His heart, head and hands mark the boundaries of that force field in which a joyous rebirth of any – yes indeed, any – piece of music occurs before our astonished ears, takes place in the close-up transmission of cameras before our wondering eyes.

YouTube fan comments: I never get tired of watching this musical genius.” – “It always makes me happy to watch David Garrett play.” – “Maravilloso … simplemente encantador!” – “Many thanks for the magical music!”

There is such conscious clarity in every note and interval, and his playing is never overly sweet, never sentimental. The hint of edginess about the strings and the masculine vigour of his performance work equally well with contemporary and classical music: Beethoven and Brahms, Metallica and Nirvana, Tico Tico and the Czardas, Yesterday and Summertime, even Chopin and Schubert (being all about the piano) can rarely have sounded more enthralling.

“Have you ever heard anything more beautiful?” – “Como llega a mi corazón! Excelente!” – “… an extremely gifted and sensitive musician.” – “His tone is amazing.” – “Every touch of magic, perfect!” – “He adds so much to the song with his own style. Every note played with such clarity.” – “I doubt that anything he touches doesn’t transform to gold.” – “Thank you, dear David Garrett, for your fantastic music and the happiness it brings to us all!”

61 Ode to Joy, 2013

David Garrett can afford to be fearless in his choices, for tags like ‘classical’, ‘crossover’, ‘cover artist’ and suchlike melt to insignificance in this, his particular process of witnessed, conscious creation in music’s universally understood language: A sequence of notes in faultless timing, a progression of harmony, a rhythm … and David’s individual phrasing that expresses a specific emotion in the most beautiful way this moment in time and his outstanding skill affords.

It seems to me that this particular alchemy – this process of turning something too-well-known into something worth listening to – is David Garrett’s unrivalled ability, seasoned with his infectious joy and musical passion. And like a magician he conjures this enchantment for our delight, time and time again, with unfailing commitment. But what he conjures is never illusion. It is truth, pure and sweet.


Moving on to other projects, I decided not to keep this domain going; and so it is goodbye, dear readers – this blog and all its content will soon disappear.


Author: Fabienne Wolf

writing solo traveller

24 thoughts on “David Garrett’s Musical Magic

  1. Thank you Fabienne, for your insightful writing. I have always loved classical music, but after “discovering” DG a few years ago, I am newly crazy about the violin! He plays like no one I’ve ever heard – so beautifully and with such feeling. I’m old, but I’m going to say it anyway – the fact that he’s the most handsome man on the planet, doesn’t hurt..

  2. cada dia David ingresa en el mundo latino y se que se coronara como una de las estrellas mas brillantes, por estos lados…su incomparable talento, unido a ese encanto y carisma que despliega hacia su publico…asi, lo vaticinan…Seria posible contar con material de el…con sub-titulos en espanol? lamentablemente, no todas dominamos muy bien el ingles, para seguirle las entrevistas, como en nuestro deseo. Ojala puedas lograr algo a este respecto. Gracias

  3. I am just now seeing your posts as I haven’t had much time for Facebook lately due to my work schedule. I agree with everything you write as well as comments by others. In my life I have never witnessed anyone like David. I had casually recorded a concert on pbs, thinking the music might appeal to me. Later, I decided to watch it in between doing my household chores. The first notes I heard were of a song that I loved when I was a teenager, “Groovy kind of love”. (Now, of course, I know that the piece was derived from a classical tune that David played for the ‘Music’ cd.). I was blown away. I had never heard anything so beautiful. Then as I watched him play I was mesmerized. Needless to say, I didn’t get much housework done after that. I immediately went to the pbs website and ordered tickets to his upcoming concert as well as the cd and DVD! For well over a year I listened to his music every day, ripping audio from his YouTube videos as well as ordering other crossover CDs. I think we are not used to hearing such beautiful violin music as the “voice” of a song, as opposed to being part of the background. That plus the passion and feeling he puts into every performance is quite unusual. He ‘feels’ the music in a way that I’ve never observed in other musicians. And, let’s face it, we’re listening to an extraordinary artist who is as beautiful as the music he plays! Really have enjoyed the two posts I’ve read and they obviously inspired me to share my own ‘David’ experience. Thanks!

    • Dear Kathy, Thank you for sharing your DG experience. It is so interesting to read all these stories and to find much that is familiar. In this case: “… didn’t get much housework done …” – Ah, yes! David Garrett is indeed an impediment to our household chores, I’m noticing that too. In my case, the time is used for more research and more writing …

  4. Fabienne : Gracias por publicar temas de David Garrett, me encanto! Muy feliz de encontrarme con ésta página, amo la forma de escribir sobre David, todo lo que manifestas es como que lo hiciera yo. Me encanta David, la interpretación de su música es mágico llega a lo más profundo de mi alma. David es un ser especial, tuve la suerte de estar en su concierto en Buenos Aires Argentina, es como realmente lo imaginaba, simpático, dulce, amoroso con su público, con la humildad de los grandes, un sol, realmente un ser excepcional y bueno del talento no hay palabras para describirlo. Muchas gracias por compartir tú escritura.

    • Florencia, muchas gracias! Me encanta que te gusta mi escritura, y que llega hasta Argentina. Saludos!

  5. You describe David’s playing precisely 🙂 “… his playing is never overly sweet, never sentimental”, so true. There are many examples for it, Brahms, Bach, Bruch, Chopin, even pieces like “En Aranjuez Con Tu Amor”, Albinoni’s “Adagio” or arrangements of Metallica’s “Nothing else matters”. For an instance, I’m absolutely mesmerized by his performance of Tartini’s “Devil’s Trill Sonata”. Recently I’ve wrote that there’s clearly such thing as interpretation of a musical piece that may be “angelic” or “demonic”, but David captures them both simultaneously. He is very clear and sharp in his playing, genuine, goes straight to the heart of the listeners.

  6. Ah…você define muito bem o que é David Garrett, música e sons, tom e carinho para os ouvidos, alegria para o espírito, emoções que nos fazem sentir mais vivos! Amor muito amor, para nos fazer mais felizes! Grande David !

    • As you say, Mariah, it is indeed a great gift to be able to bring so much happiness to people all around the world, and to be so beloved by so many … Here’s hoping that he may never lose sight of it.

  7. Dear Fabienne,
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and putting them in such clear and appropriate words. You gave a voice to my thoughts and that’s amazing!
    It’s true there is so much video material on YouTube about David, but unfortunately most of the interviews are in German … any suggestion for good interviews in English?

  8. How wonderful to be able to connect to other “DG Insomniacs” at last! I am almost 70, never particularly fond of classical music, rarely bought CDs and certainly never classical ones, yet since discovering DG on public television here in the USA, I’ve become obssessed. My friends think I’m crazy so I no longer talk about it with them! I don’t know what it is about him but I can’t get enough. I watched the PBS special multiple times, spend hours watching all the videos of him and about him on YouTube, and begin and end each day listening to Clair de Lune, Air, Summertime, Over the Rainbow, Csardas … well, anything and everything. He has a magical quality which absolutely hooks me, like a drug I cannot do without. Amazing!

    • Hello and welcome to this platform of DGIs! Yes, THIS is the place to talk about our shared fascination, and I empathize completely with what you say. Will one ever feel in tune with a friend who can’t see anything special about David Garrett? If she says, for example, “Oh, I don’t like his hairstyle” and turns away? – I mean, seriously … why care about his hair when he plays like he does?

      • Just read your newest post … absolutely spot on! It’s so strange to come across someone who puts my own thoughts into such beautiful words. Honestly, I thought I was a bit crazy with my feelings about DG … definitely not something I would share with even my closest friends. Then I come across your blog and not only do you voice my thoughts, but so do all of the other commenters. We are a community! Then I notice your other blogs. I, too, am a solo traveler, empty nester, single mother of sons, and have been to so many of the places you blog about. I spent a week in Fort William last year and traveled to Mallaig, Ben Nevis, Oban, Inverness, etc. Also spent a week in Wales last June. Obviously my next purchase will have to be your book! (Found it on Amazon!) So glad to have come across you and your blogs (and to know that I’m not crazy, after all!) By the way, do you have a favorite DG piece?

        • Dear Kay-Tee, It is always a joy to hear that someone likes what I have written. I have never before my travels been a writer, and I am not used to that yet. (My family and friends couldn’t care less, by the way.) How thrilling if you should read my travel report, having been to these wonderful places yourself. Incidentally, that little book charts not only my discovery of just how much personal freedom means to me (I was unable to return to my former life afterwards), but it was also the first time that the need to write about what I saw, felt and thought became undeniable. And although I had set out with a box of art materials to sketch and paint as I had often done before, in walking the coast of Wales and the Scottish Highlands I realised that I needed to paint this experience in words.
          That same need is now at work in my writing about David Garrett. It is not something I choose to do, but something I can’t not do. Unless I have set down all that comes into my mind unbidden, I cannot sleep. DG Insomniacs, hello! Are we crazy? I think not. There is nothing wrong with appreciating beauty wherever you find it, and my travel reports are all about that. Since there is such a great deal of beauty in David Garrett and his music, there must be many who recognize it.
          Do I have a favourite DG piece? No. It depends on the mood of the moment, and sometimes on new discoveries in the YouTube play list. But I have been entirely bowled over by his interpretation of Beethoven’s violin concerto, which I happen to know reasonably well, and captivated by his live performance of Summertime. Other than that, I am happy to follow wherever his journey of musical discovery may yet take us.

  9. I absolutely adore how you write! Your ‘the spinning of straw to gold’ reference to David’s music, like the fairytale, is such a beautiful and accurate analogy. As one of your followers has written, ‘you have such a wonderful way with words’ and, I feel, in the way that you express your feelings. I do enjoy reading what you write so very much, Ms. Wolf.
    You have touched on a subject that is so true. Anything that David plays, arranges, interprets is like audible gold, no doubt about that! His music is truly a delight.
    I wanted to add one accolade that I read when viewing one of David’s videos, this person said, “Not seeing David play or getting good close ups is like going to the Louvre and not seeing the Mona Lisa.” Those words were astonishing to me but the more that I think about them, the more I believe that this is true! To watch his expression as he performs just adds more magnificence to his already amazing sound! Thank you for your fabulous writing Ms. Wolf!

    • Thank you so much – and please, do call me Fabienne. After all, we both belong to the sisterhood of DG Insomniacs, and that must be as good a foundation for friendship as any.

  10. Loving your very interesting perspective on David Garrett.

    • Thank you, Darlene. Meanwhile, that perspective is leading to a vanishing point on the distant horizon …

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