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The Week in Reviews, Op. 71: Alina Pogostkina, Augustin Hadelich, James Ehnes in Concert

Robert Niles

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Published: February 25, 2015 at 4:09 AM [UTC]

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.

Alina Pogostkina performed the Beethoven with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

  • The Scotsman: "Runnicles’ shaping of the Beethoven Violin Concerto was completely at one with soloist Alina Pogostkina, who breathed fresh flavours and natural musicality into this well-worn masterpiece."
  • Herald Scotland: "In short, Runnicles is a conductor who matters, with a band which, 30 years ago on the periphery of things, is now absolutely central to music in Scotland. And if that assertion needed demonstration, it was all there on Thursday, with the most delicate, exquisite account I think I've heard of Beethoven's Violin Concerto which, in the intimately-expressive hands of soloist Alina Pogostkina, and the masterly,unhurried, close-up-and-personal care of Runnicles and his ultra-responsive SSO players, was like chamber music, drawing you into its thinking. It was quietly and undemonstratively heart-stopping in its beauty."

Alina Pogostkina.png

Augustin Hadelich performed Lalo's "Symphonie espagnole" with the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra.

  • The Patriot-News: "This is his third concert with the HSO, and the next time Hadelich visits the Forum, you will hear me screaming Beatlemania-style from wherever you happen to be....The orchestra provided as lush a foundation for Hadelich's performance as Michelangelo Antonioni provided Monica Vitti when he lit up the Aeolian Islands with her smoldering grace in "L'avventura." I mean it was sexy, and the end knocked a gasp out of me."
  • The Sentinel: "Soloist Augustin Hadelich proved conclusively on Saturday night that his spellbinding command of the violin has only gotten stronger since his last visit to Harrisburg in 2010."

James Ehnes performed Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

  • The Boston Globe: "Canadian violinist James Ehnes gave a measured, laid-back reading, offering mystery rather than intensity. His encore, the Largo from Bach’s Third Sonata for Unaccompanied Violin, was sublimely elegant."
  • The Boston Musical Intelligencer: "I have long admired Ehnes’ playing from his recordings so jumped at the opportunity to hear him live. He did not disappoint. It was as elegant as ever. Ehnes was sheer perfection."
  • Boston Classical Review: "The presence of Ehnes’s violin tone in the large hall seemed as intimate as chamber music, as he effortlessly projected the finest details of Prokofiev’s fantasy-like score. In the piece’s central scherzo, the violinist dazzled with scorching scales, left-hand pizzicato, slashing martellato, and fast, whistling harmonics, all without losing his impeccable cool. Ehnes received, and deserved, the biggest ovation of the night."

Philippe Quint performed Bernstein's "Serenade" with the Grand Rapids Symphony.

  • The Grand Rapids Press: "Quint grabbed the audience by its lapels and refused to let go, announcing his arrival with noble authority before stepping back for a more childlike and playful romp and a series of technical hurdles he made seem rather effortless. His ringing, singing tone, and rock-solid intonation made for a mesmerizing, serene, fourth movement while navigating rocky waters. His athletic performance of the snazzy finale captivated Friday's audience into prompt standing ovation and two curtain calls."

Ilya Gringolts performed the Harris with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.

  • The New Zealand Herald: "conductor, orchestra and soloist positively relished the very symphonic thrust of this writing. There was no lessening of tension in the faster sections, either, marked by unfailingly idiomatic writing and an almost Stravinskian sense of propulsion. After 20 minutes, a journey had been taken and resolution achieved, as Gringolts gave us his final exquisitely whispered gestures."

Gil Shaham performed the Berg with the Philadelphia Orchestra.

  • Philadelphia Inquirer: "Gil Shaham was soloist, only sometimes achieving full intensity. He had a habit of pivoting between facing conductor and concertmaster, which might have had an intra-ensemble purpose. But it also meant he was sometimes turning his body to eclipse his own sound."

Ji Won Kim performed the Tchaikovsky with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

  • The Sydney Morning Herald: "Violinist Ji Won Kim drew audience approval for her admirable display of technical facility, secure intonation, fluid bow and a beautifully expressive canzonetta. Kim's performance grew more assured with each passing minute, yet the marriage between soloist and orchestra was often uneasy, threatening to derail in a fast-paced finale."

Karen Gomyo performed the Pintscher with the National Symphony Orchestra.

  • The Washington Post: "It’s an able and impressive piece, sending Gomyo, who is capable of fine sound, fingering in nervous skitters across the strings and finally dying out with the windy sound of tuneless breath, a bow scraping not strings, but the wood of the violin. But I was less taken with it than I’ve been with other Pintscher pieces, however glad I was that the orchestra committed to showcasing the work of an important artist."

Roman Simovic performed the Glazunov with the London Symphony Orchestra.

  • The Telegraph: "The soloist Roman Simovic had a delightful sweet-toned lyricism, and an easy, smiling virtuosity. It was just what was needed to reveal the charm in this somewhat earnest, solidly-crafted piece."

Midori performed the Schumann with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.

  • ArtsATL: "Even with the orchestra backing off on volume, as they did, Midori’s solo violin had difficulty cutting through. It doesn’t help that Schumann’s music in this instance is not all that interesting or engaging in the first place. Not the best vehicle for Midori, thus disappointing."

Ning Feng performed "Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso" in the Los Angeles Symphony's Chinese New Year Concert.

  • Violinist.com: "He played...with beautiful expression, agility and character."

Daniel Szasz performed Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons" with the Alabama Symphony.

  • ArtsBham.com: "As thunder and lightning, a hunt with howling dogs, and a virtual aviary unfolded, Szasz contributed supple and sensitive solos."

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

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