The Week in Reviews, Op. 362: Rachel Barton Pine; Gil Shaham and cellist Sterling Elliott; Jennifer Frautschi

July 20, 2022, 2:34 PM · 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.

Rachel Barton Pine
Violinist Rachel Barton Pine. Photo by Lisa-Marie Mazzucco.

Rachel Barton Pine performed Billy Childs' Violin Concerto No. 2 with the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra.

Gil Shaham and cellist Sterling Elliott performed Brahms’ Concerto for Violin and Cello in A minor with the Aspen Festival Orchestra.

Jennifer Frautschi performed Haydn’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in C Major at Music@Menlo.

Oliver Neubauer performed Grieg’s Violin Sonata in C Minor with pianist Sahun Sam Hong at Menlo’s Young Performers Program.

Anna Da Silva Chen performed He Zhanhao and Chen Gang’s "Butterfly Lovers" Violin Concerto with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.

Shunkse Sato performed and directed works by members of the Bach family with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra.

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Replies

July 20, 2022 at 10:31 PM · I went to see Joshua Bell play the Tchaikovsky concerto two weeks ago, with Michael Stern conducting the National Repertory Orchestra, and it was just a total wreck.

Stern and Bell were not on the same page the entire time, so basically any big run that Bell had was haphazardly fit into the tempo, and a lot of his big arpeggiated flourishes or other fancy passagework were marred by inconsistent bow contact, so you couldn't really hear parts of the run. The tempo was probably a little bit fast, which never really settled into a coherent reading. Bell seemed to pull it together for a very nice cadenza, but other than that, him and the conductor seemed to be battling the whole time.

It might have been tempting to lay some of this at the feet of the very young orchestra, but the one time I heard Michael Stern conduct the Colorado Symphony in a Brahms Symphony, I remember them having uncharacteristic ensemble issues, so I'm not particularly impressed with any aspect of his conducting. I don't know if Bell was having a particularly off night, but his playing gave off a rushed and anxious feeling which I never would have thought to associate with him.

I was pretty glad when the tilt-a-whirl let me off.

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