Sarah Chang Performing Shostakovich Violin Concerto

October 12, 2004 at 05:17 PM · I live in Honolulu, Hawaii and it is rare for a violinist of high caliber to come to Hawaii and play with the Honolulu Symphony (although we have had previous instrumentalists like Midori, Sarah Chang, Yo-Yo ma, Han na Chang, and i believe Gil Shaham).

Sarah Chang has played here a previous 3 times, playing the Tchaivkosky at age 12, Brahms at 17, and Goldmark at around 20 I believe. All those performance have been outstanding especially Goldmark. (please note that i was a toddler when she was playing the Tchaiv. and the Brahms) I was just wondering if anyone heard or seen her perform the Shostakovich. I know she is going to do some concerts and i believe a cd recording with the prokofiev vio. conc. (i think but i might be mistaken) I wanted to know how she did on the Shostakovich.

I love this violin concerto and i really appreciate Sarah for her focus on "2nd level" concertos such as Dvorak, Strauss, Goldmark, and so on. The concertos that are not played often. She performs this concerto in April or May as the season finale. (i want to know if i should buy tickets all the way in the front or just get regular seats) cause i heard there are only 50 or so seats left in the front section! THANKS!

Replies (14)

October 12, 2004 at 06:37 PM · I don't think that she has recorded it.

With Chang I'll like to have a mid hall seat. She plays very loud and her tone sounds best at a distance of say 15m (50ft), and her bodymovments, especially the facial ones looks best at that distance to.

So I would not be to close.

For balance of the orchestra there is never good to be to close if the stage is high, try to sit a bit back in the hall and behind the conductor.

August 31, 2005 at 06:27 PM · Just saw Sarah Chang performing the Shostakovich Violin Concerto with the LA Philharmonic conducted by Leonard Slatkin last night. It was at Hollywood Bowl so it was not acoustically optimal but Chang did make it a personal and moving performance (despite a broken hair on bow - not a volinist so not sure of the technical terms).

August 31, 2005 at 07:33 PM · I saw Sarah Chang playing Schostakovits last week with the Juilliard Orchestra. It was great. I especially liked her sound. Everything was played with shining, clear tone, even the trickiest parts. The only thing I didn't like was the opening of the Passacaglia, where the sound and vibrato were too sugary for my taste. And a couple of sloppy bow changes at the frog.

The concert was in a church in Helsinki and I was about 20m from her and the sound really was terrific. All I could see was her bow arm so I can't say anything about body movement this time. But there was a lot of time to study her relatively high elbow and extended index finger. Seems to work for her.

A lot of people talk about Sarah Chang not having grown or matured. I don't get it. It was great violin playing.

April 6, 2006 at 09:06 PM · ok you guys , I need help!

I love this concerto. I really do. Infact it really is my favourite concerto of the last 3 years. (I listened to Maxim Vengerov's recording with Rostropovich almost everyday for 6 months. Prokovief 1 on the same CD is pretty awesome as well)

Anyway, I am at NEC in Boston now and I have to play in a master class for Gil Shaham tomorrow and I am pretty worried about it. I am playing the 3rd and 4th movements to him which once I played well. Since changing the tempos to what is written, it has been gradually deteriorating into scum-ness which is really very depressing because it makes me not love my favourite piece as much as I used to. I have technical problems in the cadenza( i think I grip too much with my RH thumb and get insanely exausted by the end of that movement and then I somehow have to pick myself up for the finale). Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I can make this easier for myself? and does anyone have any suggestions as to what to do when you have technical difficulties and you know that is the only thing holding you back, but you just don't feel that you are getting enough guidance to successfully change anything? ahh so frustrating! any comments will be greatly appreciated!


April 6, 2006 at 09:56 PM · Malavika, I know how you feel, I have the exact same problems (though not with the Shostakovich, yet!!!) But about technical problems holding you back. Well, I don't deal very well with it either, but I would suggest, first of all, just take a deep breath and relax. :) Then, listen to Vengerov's recording or any other one you love. Then, with the music and expression of the piece still in your mind, take up your violin and play the piece, think about the music and the meaning of the music, not about the technique. When I manage to do that it works pretty well. :) Cheers and good luck!!!

May 10, 2007 at 06:50 PM · Just heard her playing it on the radio. Utterly appalling. It's my favourite concerto and i've never heard it does worse. No feeling at all. Too much vibrato in the 3rd movement and the most horrendous interpretation of the cadenza, too scrapy and not always perfectly in tune. She is a great player but i must admit that she absolutely slaughtered this piece!

May 11, 2007 at 05:00 PM · She does have a recording now:

January 20, 2008 at 04:17 AM ·

January 20, 2008 at 05:21 AM · I saw her not so long ago play Bruch #1...all the dancing around stage made me dizzy...but her foot stomping kept me awake.

January 20, 2008 at 07:02 AM · :-)

January 20, 2008 at 03:01 PM · to each his/her own...

i enjoy sarah chang's style very much. her body sway is not much of a challenge to my vestibular system. in fact, to me, it adds to the music. as comparison, bell's playing definitely triggers vertigo and back spasm. but hey, may be i am just a sensitive guy:)

i think chang is a great performing artist. many probably play better, but on stage, they look to me a size or two smaller in terms of the ability to deliver a performance. i pay ticket to watch a performance. (and for your performance majors out there, you'd better learn how to sell your concert because

with youtube and such out there, it will be more difficult to find buyer of recordings. diehards will disagree, but they don't have the dough of the mass.)

her whatever probably is not perfect to some of the ears here, but i was told, by definition, critics do not play as good. is that true?

January 20, 2008 at 02:39 PM ·

January 20, 2008 at 10:58 PM · Actually, I don't think Bell overdoes it at all. In fact, I believe that he deserves more credit. Everyone clashes him on this site, although he plays amazingly. I'm not talking to you, Al. Don't worry :-)

There is a fine line between too much movement and just enough. If you look awkward when you play, then it is too much. To me, however, Vengerov only looks awkward once in a while. I guess it's because he doesn't "practice" his movements, but gives his natural body motion a lot of enthusiasm!

January 21, 2008 at 01:39 AM · Greetings,

Brian, I odn`t trash JB on this site;) Actually I bought a CD of his a couple of years ago - showpieces. SAt first I wa sveyr underwhelmed by his playing but as I started to pay attenbtion I was very drawn into what he was doing. I relaized he is simply not an in your face powerhouse player. But if one is willing to step back a bit and go with him his conrtrol and use of portamento and expressive bowing is of an extraordinarly high level and incredibly subtle. There is a greta dela to be learnt from him. He also , I think is quite happy to let the music flow spontaneously and not worry about technique. He is skilled enough to do this but inevitably at times he maybe tries things and they don@t quite come off. But an artist with the guts to experiment in the moment is somehtign of a rarity at his levell and he is somethign to be valued I think. Can`t stand the way he moves around but if you watch closely he is -very- deeply rooted to the ground. More than lsser er, dancers.



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