Tom Robbins on Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg

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Nadja Salerno-SonnenbergOne of my favourite violinists is Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, known for her fearless interpretations and passionate, electrifying performances. One of my favourite authors is Tom Robbins, known for his off-beat, highly original writing. When I came across this piece -- by Tom Robbins on Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg -- I knew that it has to be something special. You be the judge...

(This appeared in Wild Ducks Flying Backward, as well as Esquire, 1989)

Play for us, you big wild gypsy girl, you who look as if you might have spent the morning digging potatoes on the steppes of Russia; you who surely galloped in on a snorting mare, bareback or standing in the saddle; you whose chicory tresses reek of bonfire and jasmine; you who traded a dagger for a bow: grab your violin as if it were a stolen chicken, roll your perpetually startled eyes at it, scold it with that split beet dumpling you call a mouth; fidget, fuss, flounce, flick, fume -- and fiddle: fiddle us through the roof, fiddle us over the moon, higher than rock 'n' roll can fly; saw those strings as if they were the log of the century, fill the hall with the ozone of your passion; play Mendelssohn for us, play Brahms and Bruch; get them drunk, dance with them, wound them, and then nurse their wounds, like the eternal female that you are; play until the cherries burst in the orchard, play until the wolves chase their tails in the tearooms; play until we forget how we long to tumble with you in the flower beds under Chekhov's window; play, you big wild gypsy girl, until beauty and wildness and longing are one.

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