The Week in Reviews, Op. 152: Anne Akiko Meyers, Gil Shaham, Hilary Hahn, Niklas Walentin
In an effort to promote the coverage of live violin performance, Violinist.com each week presents links to reviews of notable concerts and recitals around the world.
Anne Akiko Meyers performed the Bates with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.
- Stuff: "Bates must be thrilled to have Meyers championing his work as she is out of this world, scampering around the instrument, up to the dizzy heights with ease and flying around like a whirlwind – breathtaking."
- Scoop: "I didn’t particularly enjoy the Violin Concerto, not that that was due to any failing on the part of Haimor or the soloist, Anne Akiko Meyers. The latter is clearly an excellent technician and I suspect both were performing the work as well as it can be done; I just didn’t like it. It’s the sort of piece that neither moves my heart nor engages my brain...."
- New Zealand Herald: "Anne Akiko Meyers certainly lived up to Bates' description of her as one of the fiercest fiddlers around. She held her own with admirable tenaciousness in this eclectic shuffle of a score, winning hearts in lyrical interludes that could have strayed from a 1940s Korngold film score."
Gil Shaham. Photo by Oliver Reiger.
Gil Shaham performed the Mendelssohn with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.
- Cincinnati Enquirer: "There’s no doubt that Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor is in the concerto hit parade, played at least 27 previous times going back to the orchestra’s founding in 1895. But one would be hard-pressed to find a performance as dazzling and as genuinely joyful as that given by Shaham, in his ninth appearance with the orchestra."
Hilary Hahn performed Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.
- NUVO: "The thorny thicket that best describes Sergei Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 1, Op. 19, had its heavy layers revealed more completely than any previous performance I've heard. Hahn's warm, pitch perfect tone shone through in all the complexities of the Scherzo--unusually the middle movement."
Niklas Walentin performed the Harrison and sonatas by Nielsen and Brahms in recital with pianist Christina Bjorkoe.
- The Washington Post: "Walentin is a fastidious, well-trained musician. His sound, while relatively small, is clean, always in the center of the pitch and vibrant. The bow moves in perfectly straight lines, no matter how fast, and he clears technical hurdles without effort. Walentin’s bio listed only one previous U.S. appearance, but this recital showed musical intellect, a questing soul and superior command of the instrument. I hope he starts to visit our shores often."
Veronica Gan performed part of the Tchaikovsky with Cirque Musica and the Omaha Symphony.
- Omaha World-Herald: "Playing as she walked out on stage, Cirque Musica violin soloist Veronica Gan (of Duo Resonance) created a lovely sound as her flowing white train followed. That train became angelic-looking — and her violin work didn’t waver — as she played the rest of the piece suspended halfway to the ceiling."
Nicola Benedetti performed the Tchaikovsky with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
- Herald Scotland: "...it seemed to me that from her first entry, where the solo violin has absolutely no orchestral cover, she captured and somehow extended the intimacy of that moment right through the first movement. Even the big tunes and flourishes, even the cadenza, with its slithering glissando moments, failed to budge that essential "interior" quality from my mind. The movement was all close-up. It felt like big-scale chamber music."
Yevgeny Kutik performed the Bruch with the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra.
- HamletHub: "Enhanced by an impressive partnership between soloist and orchestra, Kutik masterfully handled it throughout, with a rich, warm violin tone, sensitive shadings, and flawless virtuosity."
David Bowlin performed the Balter with the International Contemporary Ensemble.
- Chicago Classical Review:
- Chicago Tribune: "David Bowlin was the brilliant soloist, chirruping and keening for nearly all of the piece's 20 minutes. Conductor Ben Bolter got crisper support than in the divertimento, but the contemporary mannerism of amplifying everything gave hard unvarying tone that reduced the work's expressivity."
Sayaka Shoji performed the Tchaikovsky with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.
- The Straits Times: "The first Japanese and youngest- ever winner of the Paganini Competition in 1999 has ample technical ability, but it was her beautifully crafted playing that truly impressed. Shoji treated her listeners to amazing permutations of articulation, tone colour, dynamics and phrasing, while keeping everything coherent and un-forced."
Tessa Lark performed the Saint-Saëns with the Richardson Symphony.
- Theater Jones: "Although stage lighting was too dim to be able to see Lark’s expressions—she was visible largely in profile—her playing mostly compensated for the visual deficiency. Lark has an appealing, warm tone in lyrical passages, and although she missed a few shifts here and there, her technical mastery was more than sufficient for the fast-paced passages of the first and third movements."
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