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The Week in Reviews, Op. 84: Ji Young Lim, James Ehnes, Augustin Hadelich

Laurie Niles

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Published: June 2, 2015 at 10:09 PM [UTC]

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.

Ji Young Lim won the 2015 Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition in Brussels, Belgium.

  • "Consternation reigned supreme at the grandest of all international violin competitions."

James Ehnes
James Ehnes. Photo by Benjamin Ealovega

James Ehnes performed the Elgar with the Philharmonia.

  • The Arts Desk: "Violinists either fathom the elusive heart and soul of Elgar’s music or miss the mark completely. Canadian James Ehnes, one of the most cultured soloists on the scene today, is the only one I’ve heard since Nigel Kennedy to make the Violin Concerto work in concert, in an equally rare total partnership with Elgarian supreme Andrew Davis and the Philharmonia. Last night he found the same emotional core in the Violin Sonata at the end of a colossal programme with a no less extraordinary but much less widely known companion, the American pianist Andrew Armstrong."

Augustin Hadelich performed Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 with the New York Philharmonic.

  • The New York Times: "In Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5, (Maestro Honeck) seemed to caress every phrase of the orchestral part into a sepia elegance, producing a poignancy that stayed buoyant, a contentment that still yearned for something more. That searching quality matched the eloquence of the violinist Augustin Hadelich, whose slight toughness of attack suggested unease under the jollity and poise of Mozart’s surfaces. His encore, Paganini’s Caprice No. 5, was finger-flying fast."
  • New York Classical Review: "There is a roughness in Hadelich’s sound that is somewhat unfamiliar in Mozart, but not altogether unwelcome: the “Turkish” concerto is, like all of Mozart’s music, an elegant work, but it does not deserve the sort of dainty treatment it is often given, particularly in its first two movements. The Allegro aperto still had all of its shining grace, and the Adagio was a simple, heartfelt elegy, despite the violinist’s tendency to push his tone slightly. Hadelich played his own cadenzas, which have something of Joseph Joachim’s virtuosic spirit about them. They are well crafted, if stylistically odd—the brief cadenza of the last movement showed a chromatic polyphony that seemed completely out of context, expressive though it was. The finale was otherwise splendid, a fiery middle section book-ended by a charming rondeau."

Jennifer Koh performed the world premiere of Anna Clyne's "The Seamstress" with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

  • Chicago Tribune: "Despite the meticulous sense of craft that is the composer's hallmark, and despite the extraordinary poise, assurance and sensitivity Koh brought to the continuously unfolding solo part, the musical content ultimately proved too thin to sustain interest on its own."
  • Chicago Classical Review: "Koh, who also performed Clyne’s Prince of Clouds with Jaime Laredo and the CSO, was a superbly committed soloist, incisive in the dramatic passages, and drawing out the lyrical introspection."

Simone Porter performed Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 with the Seattle Symphony.

  • Seattle Times: "With the close and attentive partnership of conductor Mikhail Agrest, Porter displayed a smooth, well-focused and unforced tone of considerable sweetness and warmth in Thursday’s concert, the first of three."

Veronika Eberle performed Shostakovich's First Violin Concerto with the Utah Symphony.

  • Salt Lake Magazine: "Her account was thoughtful and well considered and did full justice to the intent of the score."

Tim Fain performed Bernstein’s “Serenade, after Plato: Symposium” with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

  • The Buffalo News: "The evocative opening strains of the solo violin bordered on elegiac, and the orchestra’s string players moved from a measured support into a boisterous companionship."

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

Posted on June 3, 2015 at 6:10 PM
Stanford University’s non-commercial radio station KZSU features a weekly broadcast of rare and historical classical music performances hosted by music critic and reviewer, Dr. Gary Lemco. This Sunday, June 7, 2015 from 7:00 -9:00 pm (Pacific Coast Time) “The Music Treasury” program will feature the violinist David Nadien. The program is hosted by Gary Lemco, who reviews San Francisco Bay Area music performances for classical and CD releases for The performances by Mr. Nadien and a live interview with noted pianist Mordecai Shehori, who also has produced numerous albums of performances by David Nadien on the Cembal D’ Amour label, will be streamed live at:

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