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The Week in Reviews, Op. 99: James Ehnes, Michael Barenboim, Elena Urioste

Laurie Niles

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Published: September 22, 2015 at 6:15 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.

James Ehnes performed works by Bartok in recital with pianist Andrew Armstrong.

  • The Telegraph: "A versatile artist, the Canadian violinist has nevertheless made Bartók a speciality and the focus of a big recording project for Chandos. His commanding view of this repertoire allowed him to deliver a perfectly balanced programme reflecting four very different aspects of the composer's art."

James Ehnes
James Ehnes. Photo © Benjamin Ealovega. Courtesy the artist.

Michael Barenboim performed the Beethoven with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

  • Los Angeles Times: "He played the Beethoven Violin Concerto with a very serious expression on his face, sporting a thin tone quality (in the dry Alex acoustics, at least) offset by a good sense of the line, becoming more subdued in manner the further he went. Barenboim’s own weighty cadenzas -- works-in-progress, he has said -- turned out to be the most memorable feature of the performance, loaded with multi-stopped chords and trills."
  • "A solid presence, efficient and effective in his movements, he produced a beautiful and pristine line of sound, varied in its color and nuance. With everything so well in hand, one could simply relax and enjoy the heights."

Elena Urioste performed the Korngold with the Alabama Symphony.

  • Arts BHAM: "She possesses a warm, bright tone that balanced impeccably with the orchestra, frequently soaring above Korngold’s thick orchestration."

Joshua Bell performed Lalo’s “Symphonie espagnole" with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.

  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "Bell, still boyish at 48, inhabited the music and captured the feel of each of the five movements, alternately scintillating, singing, sweet or seductive, and ending with a bang. He and Robertson were in perfect sync with the orchestra and each other."

The Chineke! Orchestra performed works by Coleridge-Taylor, Herbert, Brahms and Beethoven at Queen Elizabeth Hall.

  • The Independent: "The playing was full of freshness and energy, and each instrumental section’s focus was sharp and incisive, with woodwind and brass outstanding."

Eoin Andersen performed (and conducted) Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 5 with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

  • The Sydney Morning-Herald: "Thursday evening's content oscillated between Stravinsky and Mozart, with Andersen showing plenty of talent in controlling performance parameters, even in a demanding work like the Mozart Violin Concerto No. 5 where the soloist had his hands full with his own responsibilities, let alone worrying about everybody else.

Simon MacDonald performed Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 5 with the Regina Symphony Orchestra.

  • Leader-Post: "The soloist was relaxed and looked like he was having fun, and, more importantly, he was able to underscore his presence when needed."

Kristian Winther performed the Mendelssohn with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra.

  • Stuff: "Kristian Winther is a young Australian violinist who gave a stunning performance that captured the elegance of the work, rather than the common bravura of so many who insist on an overt emotionalism that might be appropriate for Tchaikowsky, but not Mendelssohn."

Isaac Stern* * *

In other news, the first biennial Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition will take place in August 2016, and applications are now available via the competition's website. The top prize will be $100,000 and the jury includes Boris Kuschnir, Maxim Vengerov and jury co-chair David Stern. It is the first international musical competition established by a professional symphony orchestra, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, under Long Yu.

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

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