The Week in Reviews, Op. 146: Baiba Skride, Pekka Kuusisto, Gil Shaham
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.
Baiba Skride performed Mozart’s Violin Concerto No 4 with the West Australia Symphony Orchestra.
- The West Australian: "This was an exquisitely nuanced reading, given a deeply satisfying performance. Purity of tone, flawless bowing and a wonderful sense of style were presented at such a phenomenally high level, it was artistry of the highest order."
Pekka Kuusisto performed the Sibelius with the Minnesota Orchestra in Edinburgh.
- The Arts Desk: "He clearly knows it inside out, from a glacial opening through to unapologetic fireworks in a sprightly finale. It was an open, generous, searching performance, far from the safe Romantic warhorse the Concerto can be in the wrong hands."
- The Guardian: "His account was questioning and troubled: the opening phrase unfolded as if in mid-conversation, cadenzas were cracked and exploratory, the slow movement was plain and the finale unruly. Kuusisto made no pretence that the concerto should sound safe – in fact, he made it sound downright vulnerable, a brave antithesis to the romantic showpiece it often becomes."
- Edinburgh Guide: "I have never seen a soloist so relaxed and in command of his performance of the Sibelius Violin Concerto. His smile and some interaction with players in the orchestra were fascinating."
- Herald Scotland: "Kuusisto played with gusto and a gratifyingly meaty tone, but was dogged throughout by intonation issues, blurry phrasing and insecure tempo."
Gil Shaham performed the Korngold with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
- Los Angeles Times: "Shaham's playing captivated from the work’s quiet opening bars and never let up. Given the soloist’s concentrated, unsentimental account, especially in the sustained lyricism of the central Romanze, the applause after each of the three movements was well deserved."
Gil Shaham performed Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 with the La Jolla Music Society.
- The San Diego Union-Tribune: "Whenever Shaham’s bow touched string, magic happened. His tone was indescribably sweet, but never unbearably so. There was incredible beauty underscored by submerged intensity, the sound of a violin quietly having an orgasm."
Robert Uchida performed the Mendelssohn with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.
- Edmonton Journal: "His tone in the opening movement was gorgeous, and he was sensibly content to let the music speak for itself, an outpouring of song without words."
Finally, Violinist.com editor Laurie Niles reviewed the semi-final round of the inaugural Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition.
The finals begin Thursday, Sept. 1, and Laurie will be covering both sessions, here on Violinist.com. Please support music in your community by attending a concert or recital whenever you can!
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