Meditation from Jules Massenet's opera Thaïs is a beautiful theme that runs throughout the work. Any accomplished violinist knows this beautiful and haunting melody. However, the versatile and talented cellist Yo-Yo Ma plays a hauntingly beautiful version with Kathryn Stott, pianist. Indeed, this cello performance is my favorite! The video also presents a slideshow of nude paintings by famous artists.
Set in Roman Egypt, Jules Massenet's Opera Thaïs concerns a Cenobite monk, Athanaël, who attempts to convert Thaïs, a courtesan of Alexandria and devotée of Venus, to Christianity, but discovers, too late, that his obsession with her is not rooted in religious devotion, but in good old homespun lust. It was first performed at the Opéra in Paris on March 16, 1894, starring the American soprano Sybil Sanderson, for whom Massenet had written the title role.
Now you can listen to it as a violin solo played by Sarah Chang with the full beauty of the Berliner Philharmonika with Plácido Domingo conducting:
Now listen to Meditation in this brilliant video with a pan flute solo by Gheorghe Zamfir, the highly acclaimed Romanian master of the pan flute:
I still prefer Yo-Yo Ma's relaxing, soothing, hauntingly beautiful rendition.
Now listen to an entirely different sound:
Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto, 1st movement-part 1-Allegro moderato-Itzak Perlman violinist, Eugene Ormandy conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra.
This famous violin concerto was the theme of the recent charming, delightful French/Russian film Le Concert-Romanian director Radu Mihaileanu, starring Aleksei Guskov and Mélanie Laurent:
Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto, 3rd movement allegro vivacissimo-Anne-Sophie Mutter violinist, Weiner Philharmonika, conducted by André Previn: