The Week in Reviews, Op. 232: Alexander Kerr; Karen Gomyo; Itzhak Perlman
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.
Alexander Kerr premiered Jonathan Leshnoff's Violin Concerto No. 2 with the Dallas Symphony at one of conductor Jaap van Zweden's final concerts with the orchestra.
- Texas Classical Review: "At 20 minutes, Leshnoff’s Violin Concerto No. 2 is a nearly perfect marriage of form and content, with an unfailingly palatable harmonic and melodic language. The one major flaw in the work is the tendency of relatively dense orchestral scoring to interfere with the ability of the soloist to shine; while the balance was perfect in the slow movement with strings only, Kerr all too often disappeared into the orchestral texture in much of the rest of the work. The soloist handled the wide-ranging moods as well the intricate passage-work of this part neatly, though there were moments when his presence could have been more aggressively asserted in terms of volume and balance with the orchestra."
- The Dallas Morning News: "Tuneful, toe-tapping, vividly rhythmic, the Leshnoff is a most appealing work: neoclassical Stravinsky meets Samuel Barber meets minimalism.... it was a showpiece for DSO concertmaster Alexander Kerr, who played with the utmost tonal finesse, sweetly singing phrases balancing flawless virtuosity."
- TheaterJones: "Restraint, humility, and confidence. That's enough to make me say it—a restrained, surprised and thoroughly disarmed "wow," one made all the more necessary by van Zweden's meticulous leadership of the ensemble and Alexander Kerr's utter absorption in a beautifully rendered solo part that I'm certain was as rewarding to perform as it was to listen to."
Karen Gomyo performed the world premiere of Samuel Adams’ "Chamber Concerto" with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
- Chicago Tribune: "At 30 minutes, the five movements could have been pruned by about 10 minutes (especially the uneventful slow movement), for all the allusive subtlety and ingenuity with which Adams interweaves the intense, stratospheric bravura of Karen Gomyo (the terrific violin soloist for whom the concerto was written) with the twitchy rhythmic exchanges from his colorful mini-orchestra. Even so, he merited the extended ovations he got as he joined Gomyo, Salonen and the other musicians at the end."
- Chicago Classical Review: "Adams’ tortuously intellectual inspiration often results in music that is dry and awkwardly worked out. There are issues with his Chamber Concerto, as well. But the brilliant, dazzling playing of violinist Karen Gomyo bodily lifted this premiere above its occasional technical weaknesses."
Itzhak Perlman conducted and performed with the San Francisco Symphony.
Anne Akiko Meyers performed the Barber Concerto with the Santa Barbara Symphony.
- Noozhawk: "Some notes were so high, Meyer’s two hands nearly met. Her skill and artistry were evident in the complete absence of any irritating squeak."
Liana Bérubé performed the Bernstein Serenade with the Oakland Symphony.
- San Francisco Classical Voice: "Any ensemble would be lucky to have her in its ranks. Standout moments included the gorgeous solo melody that opened the first movement, as well as Bérubé’s spot-on soft entrances in the second."
Arabella Steinbacher performed the Tchaikovsky Concerto with the Dresden Philharmonic.
- The Herald: " Any temptation to over-indulge in the drama that is present in everything that the composer wrote was resisted, as Steinbacher left ample air around the first movement cadenza and found a lovely languid line through the slow movement, which also featured beautiful playing by the principal clarinet and principal flute."
Sophie Rosa performed "The Lark Ascending" with the Westmorland Orchestra.
- The Westmorland Gazette: "Her performance...was one of the highlights of the evening. Her sound flowed seemingly effortlessly as she soared higher and higher into the upper register holding the audience spellbound."
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