The Week in Reviews, Op. 152: Anne Akiko Meyers, Gil Shaham, Hilary Hahn, Niklas Walentin

October 10, 2016, 12:58 PM · 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.

Anne Akiko Meyers performed the Bates with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra.

Gil Shaham
Gil Shaham. Photo by Oliver Reiger.

Gil Shaham performed the Mendelssohn with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

Hilary Hahn performed Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

Niklas Walentin performed the Harrison and sonatas by Nielsen and Brahms in recital with pianist Christina Bjorkoe.

Veronica Gan performed part of the Tchaikovsky with Cirque Musica and the Omaha Symphony.

Nicola Benedetti performed the Tchaikovsky with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

Yevgeny Kutik performed the Bruch with the Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra.

David Bowlin performed the Balter with the International Contemporary Ensemble.

Sayaka Shoji performed the Tchaikovsky with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.

Tessa Lark performed the Saint-Saëns with the Richardson Symphony.

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


October 10, 2016 at 08:22 PM · I was fortunate to be in the audience for the Gil Shaham's Saturday performance with the CSO. It was my first time seeing him live, and he did not disappoint. His clarity and ease of playing were stunning, and the CSO was incredible!

October 10, 2016 at 09:55 PM · Victor, my parents were at that performance as well, they gave it high praise and were happy he did two encores!

October 10, 2016 at 10:55 PM · I was in the audience for Hilary Hahn's performance. She was stunning.

October 11, 2016 at 01:25 AM · I was also fortunate to hear Gil Shaham Saturday with the CSO. His performance with Naeme Jarvi conducting was amazing. Not only did Shaham give us two encores, the orchestra also played an encore for the audience. First time I ever heard an orchestra encore!

October 11, 2016 at 04:10 AM · The Mendelssohn has only been played 27 times? Isn't that more like 2700? Oh that's just one orchestra. Okay then.

October 11, 2016 at 05:06 AM · And they probably mean 27 concert series....

October 15, 2016 at 07:10 AM · As unorthodox as this may sound, I feel compelled to mention to Tim Aldridge, a critic representing NUVO, that his opening description of the great Violin Concerto No. 1 in D Major of Sergei Prokofiev, as a "thorny thicket" casts a somewhat veiled less realistic image upon this gorgeous and earlier Twentieth Century still-romantic Violin Concerto in neon lighting. Due to a generational gap, he reveals some lack of awareness or inaccessibility of truly historic performances of this equivalent Masterwork for Violin with Orchestra equalling any of the great Violin Concerti composed from that earlier part of the Twentieth Century all the way through to Aram Khachaturian's or Dmitri Shostakovich's great Diaries of Life for Violin with Orchestral sound reflecting growth of cultural evolvement to mid-Century.

The prime interpreter of Prokofiev I is for me, without a doubt, my late private Violin Mentor, Nathan Milstein, who 'owned' both Prokofiev Concerti with a particularly uncanny affinity with the first Violin Concerto in D Major. If Mr. Aldridge was fortunate enough to have attended the acclaimed Live performance of Nathan Milstein in London's Royal Festival Hall in the mid '60's with Raphael Fruhbeck de Burgos conducting Milstein in both the Glazounow and Prokofiev No.1 Violin Concerti, he might not have been as astonished by Ms. Hahn's Encore of the Third Partita in E Major Preludium of Bach's Solo Violin Masterpiece! This narrative in no way is any reflection on the greatly heightened mastery of the wonderful American born Violinist, Hilary Hahn!! That said, Ms. Hahn is sure to have honoured much of the 'perfume' and hidden inflections in Prokofiev's score ~ However, with greatest respect, I've no doubt Hilary Hahn would have loved to play this work for Nathan Milstein & been imbued with many of his 'from the same soil" sense with DNA instincts and insights into the more complex messages behind even the most extraordinarily virtuosic passages in Prokofiev's second movement Scherzo!! No doubt the gifted Conductor of the Indianapolis Symphony provided a deeply respectful orchestral 'accompaniment' to Ms. Hahn's ability to produce wizardry ... However, the greatest performance in the World of 'other world' fusion between orchestra and soloist occurred in the Royal Festival Hall on that Spring night in London when an over sold-out full house of the most reserved yet discerning British audiences congregated, who upon the final ethereal wondering's in Prokofiev's subtle 'yesteryear' musings to newer-world cadencing brought a sustained awed silence, then followed by a surge of absolute frenzied near-hysteria responses from the stiff upper-lipped British -- swept away by Milstein's intoxicating wizardry and Fruhbeck de Burgos' swooping sheens of innuendi both in, out and underneath the solo violin eventual acceptance ~

For those who may not 'Believe', please find the EMI LP 33 rpm recording of Nathan Milstein in both Prokofiev Violin Concerti ~ the first of which is recorded with his great friend & colleague, former Chicago Symphony Orchestra Principal Guest Conductor, Carlo Maria Giulini, & the Philharmonia, and the Second Concerto in g minor recorded with Raphael Fruhbech de Burgos and I believe, the New Philharmonia?

As a Violinist of blessed experience being a protege of both Jascha Heifetz and, later in London, privately, with Nathan Milstein over 3 & 1/2 years, I would not have wished being born any later to have missed such platinum opportunities to learn, hear, & bare witness just 3 feet away, to carry forward some healthy dosages of musical legacies from Giant's (to quote a great Conductor) "who once walked the Earth ~" Ms. Hahn is close to this elite company and I dare say, Member of a very few who may glow in name and Violin Art as time stretches far into the future ~

May the God's bless her on her journey of Truth as an Artist of rare command in these especially distressing times during which we are all endeavouring to live, survive and, yes, be duly inspired ~

Elisabeth Matesky /Chicago*


(c) Copyright Elisabeth Matesky 10/15/16. All rights reserved.

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