The Week in Reviews, Op. 222: Lara St. John, Janine Jansen, Erin Keefe
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.
Lara St. John performed works from and inspired by Eastern Europe in recital with pianist Matthew Herskowitz.
- Superconductor: "In Ms. St. John's strong, capable hands, one was reminded of the strength and power of this instrument, used to celebrate weddings, mourn the dead and entertain millions in an era before the Xbox. This program was inspired by the violinist's own journeys: she lived in Moscow before the Politburo fell and has roamed these countries, soaking up the music and with the help of a slew of contemporary composers, repurposing it for this evening's recital."
Lara St. John. Photo by James Farley.
Janine Jansen performed the new Violin Concerto by Michel van der Aa with the Philadelphia Orchestra.
- The Classical Review: "Hearing Jansen’s riveting performance, it’s clear why van der Aa wrote this concerto with her in mind. There is a bracing ferocity to her playing that matches the spirit of the work; she is one of a special class of violinists who show no fear in their approach to the instrument, pressing the sound where it serves the music, pushing the instrument to its limits without losing control. It is a thrill to hear her play."
- The New York Times: "The concerto is less overtly theatrical, though hardly less inventive musically. (Aa's) instrument in conceiving the piece was as much Ms. Jansen, her personality and temperament, as the violin. “If Janine had played the flute,” he has said, "I would have written a flute concerto."
Erin Keefe performed the Weill Violin Concerto with the Minnesota Orchestra.
- St. Paul Pioneer Press: "Soloist Erin Keefe is the orchestra’s concertmaster, and it felt in many ways like a concertmaster’s piece, for it’s less about stealing the spotlight than sharing it with other soloists around the ensemble, Keefe fleetly bowing beneath the mellifluous lines of others. It’s a very collaborative concerto that felt a triumph of small-scale teamwork..."
- Minneapolis Star Tribune: "The 20th-century composer is best known for music theater collaborations with Bertolt Brecht including “The Threepenny Opera,” but Keefe’s performance was a reminder that Weill had some serious classical credentials. Set in the unusual context of a small accompanying group of wind, brass, doubles basses and percussion, Keefe’s playing had a pert and spicy quality, meshing neatly with a chattering xylophone in the middle movement."
Josef Špacek performed the Dvorák with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, standing in for Christian Tetzlaff.
- The Scotsman: "Špacek might be a less starry name than Tetzlaff, but he clearly has a musical personality every bit as strong and distinctive – and yes, in a beautifully lyrical, sharply defined Violin Concerto by his compatriot Dvorák, he was very good indeed."
Pinchas Zukerman performed the Vivaldi Concerto for Violin and Cello with Amanda Forsyth and the New West Symphony.
- Ventura County Star: "Reinforcing the dual strengths of the deft and often lightning-fast fingering and exquisite expressiveness that seemed to flow effortlessly from her hands and bow, Forsyth was a delight to listen to, as well as watch."
Gil Shaham performed works by Kreisler, Wheeler, Dorman, Bach and Franck in recital with pianist Akira Eguchi.
- Chicago Classical Review: "The performances were well-executed and thoughtfully realized, and Shaham deserves credit for mixing some modern curveballs in with a healthy dose of standard repertoire."
Please support music in your community by attending a concert or recital whenever you can!
This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.