The Week in Reviews, Op. 270: Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider; Vadim Gluzman; Itzhak Perlman; James Ehnes
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.
Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider. Photo by Lars Gundersen.
Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider performed the Elgar Violin Concerto in B Minor with the Philadelphia Orchestra (breaking his E-string during the first movement).
- The Inquirer: Instead of grabbing the concertmaster's fiddle, ".... the Philadelphia Orchestra came to a halt and our soloist went shopping for a new string among the orchestra violinists...In any case, playing any part of the piece on any other violin would have eliminated a bit of magic. His instrument comes with a pedigree as the 1741 Guarnerius on which Fritz Kreisler premiered the Elgar concerto more than a century ago. Here, in a way that doesn’t happen often, violin and concerto are a matched set. The violinist is special, too. Szeps-Znaider cultivates an old-world sound, and it doesn’t come merely by way of an old Italian instrument. He has made a specialty of this concerto, and all of the expressive techniques he used added up to some of the most gorgeous violin playing anywhere."
Vadim Gluzman performed the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Cleveland Orchestra.
- Cleveland Scene: "His cadenza in the first movement was especially entrancing, while the slower second movement as a whole showed his heart on his sleeve. The dynamic third movement left us wanting the piece to go on forever (as multiple curtain calls and an encore proved)."
- The Plain Dealer: "Nothing hesitant about the Finale. Neither was anything askew. Gluzman went off to the races in a brilliant display of folksy passion and technical virtuosity, and Jurowski and the orchestra kept perfect pace."
Itzhak Perlman performed in recital with Evgeny Kissin at at Symphony Center in Chicago.
- Third Coast Review: "Perlman and Kissin gave it everything they could on Wednesday night, taking advantage of the many opportunities the variations present to showcase excellent technique. "
James Ehnes performed Bruch’s G-Minor Violin Concerto with the San Francisco Symphony.
- San Francisco Chronicle: "He deftly unspooled the passagework of the opening Prelude, with its vigorous melodies and brusque violin chords built on two, three and even four strings at once. He brought an appealing grace to the central slow movement, and shaped the gypsy strains of the finale with gritty intensity. Yet none of that quite prepared a listener for the tonal beauty and dramatic flair that Ehnes brought to his first encore, a rendition of Ysaÿe’s Sonata No. 3 for Solo Violin."
Robyn Bollinger performed the world premiere of Katherine Balch's violin concerto "Artifacts" with the California Symphony.
- San Francisco Chronicle: "Bollinger...was a formidable interpreter of her friend’s work, rattling off fierce and shapely passagework or letting her violin dart pleasingly in and out of the orchestral tapestry."
Leticia Moreno performed the world premiere of Jimmy Lopez’s violin concerto "Aurora" with the Houston Symphony.
- Houston Chronicle: "...the nimble Moreno produced an endless ribbon of shimmering, shivering notes from her violin."
Leila Josefowicz performed Thomas Adès' violin concerto "Concentric Paths" with the the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.
- The Columbus Dispatch: "The orchestra wrapped around Josefowicz’s solo lines like a cloud of sound. Josefowicz powered through her lines at the violin’s top register with total precision and unflagging intensity."
Benjamin Beilman performed Prokofiev’s D Major Violin Concerto with the Rhode Island Philharmonic.
- Providence Journal: "Beilman was the darling of the night, and he had the crowd at Veterans Memorial Auditorium on their feet for the concerto, as well as a mind-blowing encore that I’m guessing might have been Ysaye."
Baiba Skride performed the world premiere of Sebastian Currier's violin concerto "Aether" with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
- The Classical Review: "Currier’s music surrounded her in glistening textures, her tone bringing bright colors to the searching wind phrases and static string harmonies."
Inmo Yang performed the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with Symphony Pro Musica.
- Telegram & Gazette: "It was, on the whole, a songful, strongly characterful performance. The first movement was warmly played and thoughtfully shaped, Yang dispatching its cadenza with understated bravura and glowing color. The second movement sang with hushed intensity, while the finale was hearty and fleet."
Robert Uchida performed Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.
- The Kingston Whig Standard: "... this was a really compelling performance of the Vivaldi masterwork, fresh and vibrant, as if one was hearing the all-too-familiar work anew."
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