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Amid rocket fire, violinist plays poignant Brahms in a bomb shelter during Israel-Gaza conflict

17 May 2021, 12:37 | Updated: 17 May 2021, 12:47

Amid rocket fire, violinist plays poignant Brahms in a bomb shelter during Israel-Gaza conflict
Amid rocket fire, violinist plays poignant Brahms in a bomb shelter during Israel-Gaza conflict. Picture: Getty / David Radzynski / Facebook

By Rosie Pentreath

Violinist David Radzynski performs a sublime melody by the Romantic composer, reminding us of the power of music to soothe in challenging times.

“Playing Brahms while taking shelter under yet more rocket attacks this afternoon…” violinist David Radzynski wrote on social media, as he shared a video of himself playing some exquisite Brahms amid the ongoing Israel-Gaza conflict.

Joined by an onlooking four-legged friend, the violinist shared the video on Saturday 15 May, amid the sinister echoes of bombs being dropped in the area.

The evocative melody speaks to the pain of the moment, and provides an instant of poignant reflection in the small, reverberating space of the bomb shelter Radzynski had sought safety in.

As he performs an extract from the second movement of Brahms’ Violin Concerto, Radzynski looks up towards the ceiling anxiously as booms reverberate over the singing sound of his violin.

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Speaking of music’s power to make a statement in challenging times, Radzynski told Classic FM: “It felt totally surreal to be playing Brahms in a bomb shelter, but also very appropriate.

“There are, as usual, many heated debates on social media whenever the tensions here rise to such a degree. I feel that for me, the most meaningful contribution I can give is through music.”

The video was taken while sirens were going off in Tel Aviv. “I was practising at home and didn’t have time to put my violin in the case, so I just took it with me,” Radzynski said.

“I mostly played for myself, but it’s also the only real form of protest I can think of in times of war. A political opinion will just get lost and nobody really wants to listen to what you have to say anyway. Music is my way of bringing people together and finding some peace of mind.”

Commenting on the video, friends of Radzynski offered their well wishes, urging him and his family to ‘stay safe’. “Brahms gets a different meaning in those circumstances”, one user commented, while another said, “Best way to find peace”.

Radzynski is concertmaster of the Israel Philharmonic, and one of the youngest violinists to lead a major world orchestra.

The Israel and Palestinian territory of the Gaza Strip is experiencing the worst violence it’s seen in years, with dozens being killed in open conflict following spiralling tensions over the past month.