The Week in Reviews, Op. 134: Ayana Tsuji and Montreal Competition Finalists; Robert McDuffie, Leila Josefowicz
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.
Ayana Tsuji performed the Sibelius in winning the Montreal International Violin Competition, with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal.
- Violinist.com: "Tsugi, playing on a c. 1850 Vuillaume, took care to showcase the dynamic shape of the music, both in short phrases and in longer sequences."
- Times Argus: "Her sound was rich and powerful, and yet she delivered the poetry of the more introspective passages. It was a brilliant performance."
- Strings: "Ayana Tsuji (Japan, 23) played Sibelius with constantly choreographed movement, crouching, stretching, reaching, making various faces, all having nothing to do with her fine performance except that the music gradually became lost in her moves."
- Le Devoir (in French): "La Japonaise Ayana Tsuji, 18 ans, impressionne : elle se lance dans une sorte de peinture du Concerto de Sibelius avec des couleurs saturées." ("The Japanese Ayana Tsuji, 18, ??impresses: it launches into a kind of paint the Sibelius Concerto with saturated colors.")
Top Three Prizewinners in the Montreal International Violin Competition 2016: Bomsori Kim (2nd); Ayana Tsuji (1st) and Minami Yoshida (3rd). Photo by Tam Lan Truong, courtesy of CMIM.
Robert McDuffie performed the Glass Violin Concerto No. 2 with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
- Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "In the years after its premiere, McDuffie spread Glass’ 38-minute composition, which is subtitled “The American Four Seasons,” across the country with a 30-city tour and a seminal 2010 recording....McDuffie’s acrobatic violin sound is built for speed and pliability, and he sounds best when playing blistering, tricky runs that dance atop his fingerboard. But McDuffie’s sound also has a tinge of danger, and some of his slower passages danced on the edge of intonation."
- ArtsATL: "McDuffie aggressively played his violin, often leaning angularly toward the audience as if he would leap off the stage at any moment. He was more relaxed during the music’s more introspective moments, as in the solo interludes, but never without a certain inner tensile strength to his stance. The final movement was a physical workout of persistence and velocity."
Leila Josefowicz performed the Salonen with the National Symphony Orchestra.
- The Washington Post: "Josefowicz played beautifully and movingly with a kind of self-effacement, resisting unnecessary pathos, and Christoph Eschenbach and the orchestra partnered her with intensity but without overpowering her."
The Interlochen Center for the Arts high school students performed with the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center for the NY Phil Biennial.
- New York Times: "All these composers share a familiarity and ease with the orchestra and a flair for instrumentation. They put the young players through their paces, and the Interlochen students responded brilliantly to (Christopher) Rountree’s lead."
- Daily Mail: "'It's all so fresh. Everything is new and right in front of your eyes; you can see the process going on,' (student A.J. Carter, 18,) said. 'It's both thrilling and a little nerve-wracking at the same time. I'm loving it, though.'"
Augustin Hadelich performed the Beethoven with the San Antonio Symphony.
- San Antonio Express-News: "The German violinist was most notable for the sweet, pure tone across the range of his 1723 Stradivari, which seemed to multiple the sensuous, lyrical effect of Beethoven’s melodies. Hadelich was equally excellent playing with the orchestra and alone in the three splendid cadenzas composed by Fritz Kreisler."
Pekka Kuusisto performed the Nielsen with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.
- Musical Toronto: "This Danish composer’s style is fundamentally boisterous, but both soloist and conductor seemed determined to make a delicate thing of the score. There were notable moments of introspection (and fine tone) in the cadenza of the finale (the only movement with a truly self-perpetuating tune). Mena evoked rich textures. All the same, the performance seemed out of step with the extraversion of the music."
- The Globe and Mail: "He played the Nielsen as though it had been written for him – actually he played it as though he had written it himself, so thoroughly did he inhabit this odd, compelling music."
Martin Riseley performed the Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.
- Edmonton Journal: " Here the audience gave a prolonged standing ovation to the soloist Martin Riseley, and for understandable reasons....This was a perfectly worthy performance, but it certainly didn’t plum the depths of this very Romantic and emotional work, in either the solo playing or the orchestral contribution."
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