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The Week in Reviews, Op. 104: Paul Huang, Lara St. John, Pinchas Zukerman

Laurie Niles

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Published: October 27, 2015 at 5:45 PM [UTC]

Paul Huang
Paul Huang. Photo by Lisa-Marie Mazzucco.

In an effort to promote the coverage of live violin performance, each week presents links to reviews of notable concerts and recitals around the world.

Paul Huang performed the Sibelius with the Alabama Symphony.

  • Arts BHAM: "But what listeners will likely take away from this concert at the Alys Stephens Center is the centerpiece – Paul Huang turning in a fine performance in Jean Sibelius’ Violin Concerto. Huang, who plays a 1742 Guarneri del Gesù, revealed why he has collected superlative accolades and awards, including a recent Avery Fisher Career Grant, deftly negotiating the Finnish composer’s monstrous scales, arpeggios and double stops while probing the work’s deep-rooted emotions."

Lara St. John performed Vivaldi's The Four Seasons with the Florida Orchestra.

  • Tampa Bay Times: "St. John is an enterprising musician, and not just because she has owned a record label since 1999. She led Vivaldi's timeless musical descriptions evoked in the sonnets, from the "gentle rustling of leaves and branches" in spring to summer thunderstorms. Some of the most breathtaking sequences come in the autumn, with sliding scales depicting boozy revelers; followed by a teeth-chattering winter."

James Ehnes performed the Beethoven with the San Diego Symphony.

  • The San Diego Union-Tribune: "Ehnes’ refined, nuanced playing was a good fit with de Waart’s rarefied approach. At time Ehnes’s playing almost sounded wistful, but perhaps that wasn’t Ehnes but the sounds of Adams still reverberating in memory (there’s no denying; Beethoven is dead)."
  • San Diego Reader: "Speaking of the first movement, I could have listened to the cadenza all day long. Ehnes, as a performer, was quiet in his body and facial expression. There were none of the pained grimaces of constipation which some, not all--but some, solo violinists employ. Ehnes’s playing was mesmerizing in and of itself. We didn’t need to see him “feeling it.” The tone and quality of his playing took care of it all."

Pinchas Zukerman performed the Beethoven with the New World Symphony.

  • South Florida Classical Review: "Unlike some of his contemporaries, Zukerman’s technique is still very strong and his singing tone intact. The demands of Beethoven’s violin writing were dispatched with considerable panache and accuracy."

Anne Akiko Meyers performed the Barber with the Williamsburg Symphonia.

  • The Virginia Gazette: "Throughout, Meyers was in total control, highlighting her emotional interpretation, exacting delivery, and red hot technique.At Meyers' hands, she proved why the Guarneri was given to her for lifetime playing rights; she superbly put into play the instrument's sumptuous warmth of sound, resonance, and responsive qualities."

Yi-Jia Susanne Hou performed Lalo's Symphony Espagnole with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra.

  • The Chronicle Journal: "Ms. Hou is a formidable presence on stage. Her playing is both tender, muscular and focused. She plays with both power and clarity. Little in Lalo's music evoked Spanish rhythms - the composition rises, falls, sprawls without, to my ears, genuine connective musical tissue. Nonetheless, the TBSO, conductor Post and Ms. Hou, together, gave us powerful performances."

Christian Tetzlaff performed Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 3 with Gewandhausorchester Leipzig.

  • The Arts Desk: "Christian Tetzlaff made the best possible case for pure song, managing a delicious swell on the top note of the slow-movement theme, and driving never too aggressively forward, dropping extra pearls of ornamentation as he went."

Sayaka Shoji performed the Brahms with CityMusic Cleveland.

  • The Plain Dealer: "Her command of Brahms' demanding writing was impressive throughout, but so was her understanding of the composer's emotional intent. The cadenza was especially well played."

Augustin Hadelich performed the Sibelius with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic.

  • The Oklahoman: "In Sibelius' Violin Concerto, Hadelich wasted little time in demonstrating why he's become one of the foremost soloists of his generation. With amazing dexterity, the violinist displayed a magisterial command of the solo part through passages that ranged from bold and capricious to emotive and achingly beautiful."

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

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