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Robert Niles

The Week in Reviews, Op. 41: Tasmin Little and Isabelle Faust at the Proms

July 29, 2014 11:20

In an effort to promote the coverage of live music, each week Violinist.com brings you links to reviews of notable violin performances from around the world.

Tasmin Little performed the Moeran at the BBC Proms

  • The Independent: "Little’s playing had poise and purity of intonation, but it was curiously passionless, and she didn’t project her sound to fill the hall; up high, she was barely audible."
  • The Guardian: Tasmin Little shaped the solo part beguilingly, though, and brought a real warmth to the lingering fade of the finale, but a bit more backbone ought to have come from the orchestra, and that might have defined the outlines of each movement more precisely.
  • Listen to the concert, via the BBC! Part 1, Part 2

Isabelle Faust
Photo by Felix Broede, courtesy the artist

Isabelle Faust performed Bartók’s Violin Concerto No. 2 at the BBC Proms

Gabriel Prokofiev's Violin Concerto, performed by Daniel Hope, makes its world premiere at the Royal Albert Hall tonight (1:30 pm ET)

  • BBC.com: "Prokofiev says he wanted to convey a broad picture of what was happening in 1914 - a year he describes as 'the end of the old world, the old ways, the old hierarchies.'"
  • Daily Express: "'...I think I have finally found my own voice as a composer and I hope people can hear the Russianness in my music,' (Prokofiev) adds. 'My grandfather composed music that has a dialogue with the public and that’s what I want to achieve.'"
  • Listen live on BBC Radio 3, or follow the links for the rebroadcast... Part 1, Part 2

Gil Shaham performed the Britten with the National Youth Orchestra

  • The New York Times: "Mr. Shaham brought glowing sound, subtle shadings and effortless technique to his performance."
  • New York Classical Review: "The first thought that comes to mind seeing over 100 teenagers dressed in red pants, blue blazers and white shirts on the stage of Carnegie Hall Tuesday night, was: 'How can anyone think classical music is dead?' There’s never enough money — there never has been — but money is neither alive nor musical. These kids were there to play a concert of classical music, and a good number of them, if not all, will continue playing classical music through their lives."
  • The Boston Globe: "Shaham has the subtle technique to project the harrowing intricacies of this score, but his feeling for this music’s larger expressive arc, its grammar of burning tension and release, was less apparent, so the concerto even in his capable hands never really added up to more than the sum of its parts."

Joshua Bell performed the Bruch with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

  • Chicago Tribune: "...his account of Max Bruch's First Violin Concerto was unruffled and pleasingly worked out, with not a bit of rough tone or heightened tension. Few would call it distanced, but a difference was noticeable between Bell's lacquered perfection and Conlon's more shaded orchestral contribution."

Dmitry Sinkovsky performed works by Vivaldi with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra

  • The Age: "Sinkovsky is the real deal: a passionate and adventurous musician with a slightly overwhelming array of talents."

Did you attend a concert in the past week? If so, please tell us about it in the comments. Please support live music in your community by attending a concert or recital whenever you can!

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The Week in Reviews, Op. 40: Julia Fischer plays the Proms

July 22, 2014 14:01

In an effort to promote the coverage of live music, each week Violinist.com brings you links to reviews of notable violin performances from around the world.

Julia Fischer performed the Dvorák at the BBC Proms

  • The Telegraph: "In the following piece, Dvorák's violin concerto, the limelight was seized by a very different kind of musicianship, as imperiously virtuoso and blazingly energised as Zinman was relaxed. It came from violinist Julia Fischer, who has the kind of flawless technique and steely vibrato that seems impervious to human fallibility."
  • The Guardian: "Fischer, meanwhile, has very much made the Dvorák concerto her own of late, and played it here with great warmth of tone and lyrical fervor."
  • Evening Standard: "There were rustic pleasures in Dvorak’s Violin Concerto, where the wistful Bohemian mood was captured to perfection. Julia Fischer was the accomplished and eloquent soloist."
  • Listen to the concert! Part One and Part Two (Audio links available for four more weeks.)

Julia Fischer
Photo © Uwe Arens, courtesy the artist

Joshua Bell performed Lalo’s “Symphonie Espagnole” with the Boston Symphony Orchestra

  • Boston Globe: "Bell served up this sun-drenched work, a violin concerto in all but name, with playing of suave technique and unstinting flamboyance."
  • Berkshire Eagle: "And Bell’s suave, silken-toned performance of Lalo’s "Symphonie espagnole" delivered audience-thrilling virtuosity in the insinuating Spanish rhythms and tunes, yet never lost sight of the underlying musical thread."

Karen Gomyo peformed Saint-Saens Violin Concerto No. 3 with the Cleveland Orchestra

  • The Plain Dealer: "Overpowered at times by the orchestra under Tovey, the artist needed only to project and emote somewhat more boldly. In all other respects, Gomyo was a champion. A sweeter, more lyrical sound would have been hard to imagine, and to the music's technical demands, the violinist brought a level of dexterity almost beyond belief."

Midori performed the Tchaikovsky with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

  • The Classical Review: "Without doing anything particularly idiosyncratic, Midori delivered a wholly satisfying performance, tackling this ineradicable warhorse with characteristic verve, fire, and tonal gleam."

Mayuko Kamio and Augustin Hadelich performed the Bach Double with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra

  • The Buffalo News: "When Kamio and Hadelich became the focal points for the remaining pieces, it became apparent that these guys were well worth booking."

Tasmin Little performed the Moeran with the BBC Philharmonic

  • Birmingham Post: "Tasmin Little was the soloist in Moeran’s Violin Concerto, and her sound, as ever, was a thing of wonder: her poise, her shamelessly luscious vibrato and the iridescent sheen of her tone making you imagine how Heifetz might have played this beautiful, under-rated work."

Emma Meinrenken performed works by Schubert and Saint-Saëns with the Utah Symphony

  • Reichel Recommends: "The youngster is already a well rounded, one might say seasoned, musician. Her artistry and stage presence show a level of maturity well beyond her years."

* * *

In other news,

Seiji Okamoto has won the 9th International Johann Sebastian Bach Competition, in Leipzig, Germany

  • Japan Times:" A Japanese university student has won first place in the violin category at an international Bach competition, the first Japanese to do so in the contest’s 64-year history, organizers said."

Hilary Hahn is taking some time off

  • The Day: "In a statement Hahn's agency said, 'Following medical advice, Hilary Hahn very much regrets that she must withdraw from her professional engagements for the next six weeks due to an inflamed muscle. Hilary is looking forward to resuming her concert schedule in September.’” Wishing you a speedy and full recovery, Hilary!

Did you attend a concert in the past week? If so, please tell us about it in the comments. And if not, why not? Please support live music in your community by attending a concert or recital whenever you can!

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The Week in Reviews, Op. 39: Anne-Sophie Mutter in concert with the Boston Symphony Orchestra

July 15, 2014 15:36

In an effort to promote the coverage of live music, each week Violinist.com brings you links to reviews of notable violin performances from around the world.

Anne-Sophie Mutter
Anne-Sophie Mutter. Photo © Harald Hoffmann / DG

Anne-Sophie Mutter performed the Dvorak with the Boston Symphony Orchestra

  • Boston Globe: "Having taken on this formidable piece at Symphony Hall in February, the German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter returned to it on Friday night, electrifying the crowd with her committed and exacting display of the work’s substantial pyrotechnics. That said, her reading also at times had a certain episodic quality, one that left at least this listener wishing for a more integrated, and more deeply inhabited, sense of interpretive vision beneath the flurry of notes."
  • Financial Times: "...the third movement, with its spirited main theme, brought melodic and structural relief and handsomely crowned Mutter’s glorious playing in a work she has championed."
  • Albany Times-Union: "Appearing in a stunning green gown, Mutter played Dvorak's extremely virtuosic Violin Concerto with perfect intonation, phrasing, and now and then a change of timbres, such as not using vibrato while repeating a melodic phrase. Along with fast runs and arpeggios there were many times Mutter played two notes at once (double stops), all done with expertise and strong expression."
  • The Classical Review: "...this concerto abounds with charming folk lyricism, and it is music that Mutter plays in grand style."
  • The Berkshire Eagle: "As star soloist, Anne-Sophie Mutter offered up a garish rendition of the Dvorak Violin Concerto. The razzle-dazzle factor was high, perhaps to lend a narrative line to a somewhat rambling concerto."

Isabelle Faust performed the Mendelssohn with the Cleveland Orchestra

  • The Plain Dealer: "...the violinist, known worldwide for her recordings, imbued the piece with genuine feeling and ensured that every note spoke with pristine clarity, including the highest pitches and fast stretches that with so many artists simply register as blurs."

Elizabeth Wallfisch performed works by Bach, Biber and Vivaldi in recital in Banff

  • Calgary Herald: "Each musical gesture from her violin was packed with rhetorical colour, nuance, and flourish when necessary, yet always in command of what the phrase demanded. It was a clinic in now to play Bach expressively, baroquely, and musically."

Did you attend a concert in the past week? If so, please tell us about it in the comments. And if not, why not? Please support live music in your community by attending a concert or recital whenever you can!

2 replies

The Week in Reviews, Op. 38: Ilya Kaler, Nathan Cole in concert (plus, Midori is expecting!)

July 8, 2014 17:19

In an effort to promote the coverage of live music, each week Violinist.com brings you links to reviews of notable violin performances from around the world.

Ilya Kaler performed the Brahms with the Bowdoin International Music Festival Orchestra

  • Portland Press Herald: "...it was more satisfying, musically and emotionally, than some more 'modern' interpretations and well deserved its rousing standing ovation, with cries of 'bravissimo!'"

Nathan Cole performed the Grieg Sonata with pianist John Novacek

  • Theater Jones: "Cole accentuated (the "Jack Benny" Strad's) dark rich sound by keeping much of his playing on the lower strings when possible. Even the high E string had a more burnished sound than usual, although it didn’t appear to sacrifice brilliance to get it. Just beautiful! Also beautiful was his intonation. He was always dead center, which is the mark of a great artist."

In other violin-related news this week:

Midori
Photo by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

  • Congratulations to Midori Goto, who is expecting a baby, according to The Los Angeles Times. Midori, 42, currently is the chair of the strings department at USC's Thornton School of Music.
  • British violinist Robert Masters, known as Yehudi Menuhin's closest musical confidant, has died. He helped establish the Menuhin School in Surrey and was its director from 1969 to 1981.
  • How many people does it take to put on NY Phil concert in the park? Apparently, 2,000!
  • Archive link

    The Week in Reviews, Op. 37: Lisa Batiashvili performs the Sibelius

    July 2, 2014 12:33

    In an effort to promote the coverage of live music, each week Violinist.com brings you links to reviews of notable violin performances from around the world.

    Lisa Batiashvili
    Photo courtesy the artist, © Anja Frers

    Lisa Batiashvili performed the Sibelius with the Philharmonia Orchestra

    • The Guardian: "The Philharmonia were at their most refined and responsive throughout the evening (during Sibelius' violin concerto and second symphony), and neither performance could be faulted technically, but for the most part both works remained rather detached and uninvolving. That was despite the brilliance of the soloist Lisa Batiashvili in the concerto, and her fearless assault on its finale especially."
    • The Telegraph: "Lisa Batiashvili’s playing of the Violin Concerto was very welcome, mixing smooth-toned poise with rhapsodic intensity."
    • Financial Times: "The Georgian violinist Lisa Batiashvili gave us a soft-focus rendition of Sibelius’s Violin Concerto, all its sharp edges sanded down and polished to perfection, generating a warmth that suited the intimacy of the middle movement though less so the bleakness in the two outer sections."

    Gil Shaham performed Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 2 with the San Francisco Symphony

    • Bay Area Reporter: "As expertly essayed by Gil Shaham, it proved an astringent palette-cleanser and more proof that Michael Tilson Thomas is especially sympathetic to the composer's tart harmonies, unique motoric rhythms and often surprisingly lush lyricism. We could have enjoyed Britten's own essay in the genre, but I would never pass on a chance to hear MTT or Shaham in Prokofiev, and the full house obviously agreed, with a hearty ovation."

    Roberto Ruisi performed the Brahms with the Eastbourne Symphony Orchestra

    • Eastbourne Herald: "Roberto Ruisi’s performance was superb throughout: there is simply nothing to say beyond complimenting Graham Jones and the orchestra on their ability to rise to so commanding a level. A long-standing ovation was sufficient to confirm my feeling that we were privileged to be seeing a young man who will soon be in great demand worldwide.”

    If you know of a published review of a professional violin performance from this week, please email a link to robert@violinist.com, and we will include it in next week's post.

    Archive link

    Previous entries: June 2014


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