The Week in Reviews, Op. 121: Daniel Hope, Hilary Hahn, Frank Almond
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.
Frank Almond performed Corigliano's The Red Violin: Chaconne for Violin and Orchestra with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.
- Journal Sentinel: "Almond moved like a storyteller, delivering a narrative of delicate melodies, a haunting cadenza and moments of searing musical angst."
Daniel Hope performed works by Bach, Mendelssohn and other artists, joined by Bella Hristova, Alexander Sitkovetsky and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
Hilary Hahn performed the Sibelius with the Minnesota Orchestra.
- The New York Times: "In the Violin Concerto, Hilary Hahn’s lean, focused sound was a perfect fit for this orchestra and this repertory, poised between rawness and refinement."
- New York Classical Review: "Hahn played Sibelius’s Violin Concerto with strength. She grappled with the music, and this was in no way a negative. She embraced the physicality of the solo part and the push and pull with the orchestra."
Barnabás Kelemen performed the Wigglesworth with the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
- The Guardian: "The second half began with Wigglesworth’s own Violin Concerto, its solo part conveyed with effortless command as well as bags of character by the Hungarian Barnabás Kelemen."
- The Telegraph: "This performance by the poised Barnabás Kelemen and the BBC Symphony Orchestra under the composer’s baton made much of its haunting and rapturous effects, but less of any originality that Wigglesworth may – or may not – possess."
- The Arts Desk: "Moods and colours proved equally various in Wigglesworth’s own Violin Concerto in its 2013 revision, designed for violinist Barnabás Kelemen, its nimble exponent here."
Gil Shaham performed the Mendelssohn with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.
- The Pioneer Press: "He delivered a wonderful interpretation of Felix Mendelssohn’s E-minor Violin Concerto, in which every rapidly fingered phrase flowed fluidly, each mounting crescendo seemed propelled by passion and the music felt enthusiastically embraced."
Akemi Takayama performed the Barber with the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra.
- Violinist.com: "Takayama demonstrated the intuitive synergy of grace and grit in violin artistry, at times whispering and at others hollering to convey the overall structure of the movement and bring the concerto to a dramatic conclusion."
Stefan Jackiw performed Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 2 with the Russian National Orchestra.
- The New York Times: "Mr. Jackiw has... made the work his own: not only the beautiful melodies but also the skittish passages in which the tunes seem to be morphing and turning themselves inside out."
Stefan Jackiw performed the Mendelssohn with the Russian National Orchestra.
- Philadelphia Inquirer: "In between the two Russian works was Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E Minor. Stefan Jackiw was soloist, coming across very much the same way he did in a recording a few years ago of the Brahms sonatas, which is to say refined and technically accomplished, if a bit cold."
Augustin Hadelich performed the Sibelius with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "His sensuous, honeyed tone remained consistent throughout the full range of the violin — achingly beautiful high notes were as deep and rich as his rapid-fire explorations in the instrument’s middle range."
- Arts ATL: "Hadelich played with great assurance and ease. His tone was energized, focused and canorous, with an underlying tensile strength in even the most melodious of passages. His technical virtuosity was deliberate and musically substantive rather than merely flashy."
Valeriy Sokolov performed the Brahms with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.
- Straits Times: "The master of the subtle nuance, Sokolov drew the audience into a world of profound intimacy and deep discretion, and when the orchestra soothingly re-emerged from its lengthy slumber, it was to produce playing of the most divine delicacy."
Esther Yoo performed the Sibelius with the Philharmonia Orchestra.
- The Telegraph: "This piece is to violinists what K2 is to mountaineers; vast, craggy and full of treacherous pitfalls. Esther Yoo refused to be intimidated by it."
- Ely Standard: "Esther’s stamina, intuition and amazing virtuosic technique made every phrase of this familiar concerto meaningful."
- Cambridge News: "Esther Yoo took it all in her stride, however, combining an extraordinary range of power and lyricism in her approach to this wonderful music. The audience was held spellbound by her performance, particularly in the adagio, where she produced passages to overwhelming effect."
Alexander Janiczek performed Mozart's Second Violin Concerto with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
- The Arts Desk: "Janiczek returned, this time standing in front of the band as soloist and director, in Mozart’s Second Violin Concerto, gently urging on the orchestral players and presenting the soloist’s role very much as first among equals, differentiating himself more by his bright, sometimes rather piercing tone than anything else."
Vilde Frang performed works by Schubert, Lutoslawski and Fauré, in recital with pianist Michail Lifits.
- Toronto Star: "Frang plays with a delicate sense of finesse but also has the personality to hold a more forceful conversation when needed. Her vibrato is wide and wild at times, yet also restrained and less excessive. This was heard in Fauré’s Violin Sonata No. 1, and shows one of the marks of a true virtuoso: the ability to play the highest notes in the loudest possible way . . . with a whisper."
Alexander Barantschik performed Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 1 with the San Francisco Symphony.
- San Francisco Chronicle: "If you believe, as I do, that Mozart’s compositions only come in two flavors — great and phenomenally great — then this early work is merely great, covering all the requisite bases with skill but not much innovation or surprise. Barantschik gave it an eloquent and committed performance, which I spent wishing I were hearing him play something else."
- Examiner.com: "The entire affair amounted to a gathering of friends who knew each other but still have much to talk about at every encounter."
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