The Week in Reviews, Op. 171: Maxim Vengerov, Leila Josefowicz, Leonidas Kavakos
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.
Maxim Vengerov performed the Tchaikovsky with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
- The Age: "Vengerov entered into his work with complete absorption, so familiar with the work's processes that he merged into the action with sterling fluency, articulating needlepoint rapid high passages in immaculate articulation, accounting for the first movement cadenza with a dramatic flair to equal David Oistrakh? or Leonid Kogan, whooping through the finale's interludes."
Leila Josefowicz performed Adams' Scheherazade.2 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
- Chicago Tribune: "Josefowicz played the long, challenging solo part from memory and did so with a ferocious technical command and commitment that are uniquely hers. Salonen and the orchestra were the ideal musical foils, a brilliant match for her leonine virtuosity. She received a stentorian ovation."
- Chicago Classical Review: "Josefowicz’s timbre is as lean and sinewy as her well-toned arms, and the violinist barreled through the myriad technical hurdles with staggering speed and accuracy. She also touchingly conveyed the reflective pages with a noble, pure tone, ending the work in a shimmering pianissimo note of peace and hard-won solace."
Leonidas Kavakos premiered Auerbach's NYx: Fractured Dreams with the New York Philharmonic.
- The New York Times: "Whatever its metaphoric resonances, the concerto kept me hooked, and Mr. Kavakos gave a riveting performance."
- New York Classical Review: "Kavakos and the orchestra, through Gilbert, played with impressive coordination. There was a small handful of rhythms and phrases that felt less than fully confident. Yet for the most part the playing was full of transparent detail, with precise attacks and balances that let Auerbach’s stained-glass orchestration speak."
Benjamin Beilman performed the Sibelius with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Beilman is a violin virtuoso. He easily skipped through the most thorny solo passages with a bell-like tone that stayed round and full up to the very top of the violin’s register. In the slower, introspective middle movement the ASO, led by music director Robert Spano, played with more passion and intensity, though Beilman still acquitted himself quite well, showing compete mastery of the material."
- Arts ATL: "His rendering of the slow second movement was poetic in its expression, and the final movement — which musicologist Donald Tovey, in all fondness, called a “polonaise for polar bears” — for all its formidable difficulty, did not descend to mere technical show in Beilman’s hands; the solo part’s musicality was never overshadowed by its brilliant gymnastics."
Simone Lamsma performed Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No. 1 with the National Symphony Orchestra.
- Washington Classical Review: "The technical achievement was admirable, but Lamsma’s approach was too bland for this bold, often angry work."
- The Washington Post: "Shostakovich’s first concerto is a satisfying meal into which a young player can sink her teeth. Lamsma, who trained at Yehudi Menuhin’s school and has some of the freedom and individuality that that background often seems to provide, made much of its range, from keening solo song, husky on the lower strings as if at the brink of tears, through to the lilting frenzy of the final movement."
William Preucil performed Thomas' Violin Concerto No. 3 with the Cleveland Orchestra.
- The Plain Dealer: "The soloist, in this case a seated concertmaster William Preucil, played the role of rhapsodist-in-charge, unfurling tender, honeyed lines above a fitful, sparkling and juggler-like ensemble. (Augusta Read) Thomas, it must be noted, is a whiz when it comes to writing for orchestra. Still, even as interjections flew in from every corner and the music lurched in unpredictable directions, ending with the magical echo of a lone triangle, the 20-minute work left the impression not of a concerto but of a ponderous rumination."
Holly Mulcahy performed Stephenson's Tributes with the Chattanooga Symphony.
- Times Free Press: "Throughout the duration of this astounding and beautiful concerto, we heard Mulcahy demonstrate extraordinary technical command, tonal sheen, intensity and refined musical taste, a delightful blend of power and intimacy, but always with her own distinctive sound."
Eunice Kim performed Bach's Second Violin Concerto with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.
- Pioneer Press: "One of the SPCO’s newest violinists, Eunice Kim, was the soloist for J.S. Bach’s Second Violin Concerto, and she seemed to tap into Egarr’s enthusiasm with her vibrant interpretation. Alas, there were balance issues, as some of Kim’s faster phrases began and ended brightly, but dipped below the surging strings in the center."
Patricia Kopatchinskaja performed Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
- The New York Times: "...from the ominous statement of the first movement’s theme, Ms. Kopatchinskaja — performing in her bare feet and a loosefitting, modish outfit — conveyed the music’s spectral strangeness and volatility. Floods of passagework seemed here macabre streams. In the slow movement, she shifted from pale-toned lyrical stretches to bouts of chords that touched the realm of grotesquerie. The finale emerged as a raucous, rowdy dance."
Gil Shaham performed the Barber with Orchestre National de Lyon.
- South Florida Classical Review: "Shaham performed this piece less than four months ago in Miami with the Cleveland Orchestra. While one would think he could find something else to play on his second visit to South Florida this season, it’s clear why he favors this work, his clean, graceful style perfect for expressing the concerto’s pristine sensibility."
- Palm Beach Daily News: "He strode onto the stage smiling, and proceeded to deliver a performance that was itself all smile and warmth — and the ONL matched him with a lovely, warm sound. And in the final movement, a moto perpetuo, Shaham was on fire — and so was the orchestra."
Philippe Quint performed Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole with the Austin Symphony Orchestra.
- La Scena: "...we heard some wonderful string playing from Russian-born Philippe Quint. Here was a handsome dark-haired young man with a flair for fashion (he sported a well-tailored frock coat), a 1708 Stradivarius, and a fabulous technique, playing Lalo’s Symphonie Espagnole with impeccable technique and a glowing tone. With conductor Peter Bay alert to every twist and turn in the score, the performance was a complete triumph."
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