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The Week in Reviews, Op. 75: Pekka Kuusisto, Daniel Hope, Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg in Concert

Laurie Niles

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Published: March 24, 2015 at 6:48 PM [UTC]

In an effort to promote the coverage of live violin performance, each week presents links to reviews of notable concerts and recitals around the world.

Pekka Kuusisto performed the Sibelius with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.

  • Seattle Times: "Looking as if he had strolled in off the street, the casually attired soloist launched into the music with a straightforward intensity that had the listeners leaning forward in their seats. There were no showy virtuoso flourishes and no grand gestures; instead, Kuusisto wielded an awe-inspiring technique and displayed a brilliantly thorough command of this challenging score."

Pekka Kuusisto
Pekka Kuusisto. Photo by Kaapo Kamu.

Daniel Hope performed the Mendelssohn with the Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra.

  • Do Savannah: "When Hope introduced the piece to the audience, recounting its unusual history, there was a distinct feeling in the hall that something special was about happen. Three movements and a little more than 20 minutes later, no one doubted that it had."

Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg performed the Mendelssohn with the Philadelphia Orchestra.

  • Philadelphia Inquirer: "Without being extreme or eccentric, the violinist essentially rewrote a good deal of the work's performance tradition. Her opening material was worrisome - tentative and technically not quite under her fingers. But she rebooted with the second theme that established a startlingly more introspective tempo than is customary, and she created a world within a world that seemed almost a portrayal of some specific event in the composer's emotional life. Magic."

James Ehnes performed the Prokofiev with the Oregon Symphony Orchestra.

  • The Oregonian: "His tone in the Prokofiev was silvery but warm and soft, with sweet, swift bow strokes and effortless playing even in the hair-raising central Scherzo."

Gil Shaham performed both the Bach concerti with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

  • TheaterJones: "He was technically nearly flawless, he imbued new life to the music, and his ornamentation was interesting without being distracting. Tempos in the fast movements were sometimes a bit too much of a whirlwind—the listener barely had time to think and digest. But overall, it was a successful modern interpretation."

Bradley Creswick performed the Tchaikovsky with the Royal Northern Sinfonia.

  • The Northern Echo: "If his opening was almost understated, it served only to accentuate a mounting tension that bubbled over in a sparkling cadenza. His slow movement had an aching beauty and flowed seamlessly to a swirling climax."

Sarah Chang performed the Bruch and Ravel's "Tzigane" with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.

  • InDaily: "Chang is every inch the classical superstar. Wearing a marvellous evening gown reminiscent of a bejewelled mermaid, she was a huge presence on stage both musically and theatrically....Chang struts and bends and slices her bow through the air like a sabre."

Rimma Bergeron-Langlois performed the Sibelius with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra.

  • Orlando Sentinel: "Bergeron-Langlois was truly a lone voice on a musical tundra as she generated some lovely warmth over Sibelius's chilly music."

Vadim Repin performed the Sibelius with The Philharmonia in London.

  • The Guardian: "It was a performance of immense technical assurance – Repin didn’t seem to play the concerto so much as own it – but it was also one that remained utterly uninvolving."

Janine Jansen performed the Brahms with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

  • The Sydney Morning Herald: "In the first half, Janine Jansen played Brahms' Violin Concerto in D with fiery force and consummate instrumental mastery; at times possessed, at other times rapt in airy distraction."

Please support music in your community by attending a concert or recital whenever you can!

From Sue Buttram
Posted on March 24, 2015 at 8:13 PM
We saw the Seattle Symphony concert on Saturday night. Pekka Kuusisto was spellbinding to watch and hear. A great concert overall.

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