The Week in Reviews, Op. 123: Leila Josefowicz, Joshua Bell, Gil Shaham
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.
Leila Josefowicz performed Adams' "Scheherazade. 2" with the Seattle Symphony.
- The Seattle Times: "On a purely visual level, Josefowicz’s facial expressions and body language were as fascinating as those of a brilliant actress or singer whose character has to fight for her life. And her musicianship is one of a kind — completely in tune with the shifting emotional landscape of Adams’ harmonic musical language, which is complex, but not in the over-intellectualized, 20th-century avant-garde way. Its complexity reflects first and foremost the emotional complexity of the musical content."
Leila Josefowicz. Photo by Chris Lee.
Joshua Bell performed the Tchaikovsky and the Mozart with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields.
- Boston Globe: "Bell’s tone in the Tchaikovsky was sumptuous but not sweet, and the big orchestra climaxes were not whipped up. His first-movement cadenza was a piece of teasing theater, not to mention virtuosity; the movement itself drew a standing ovation from the audience."
- The Washington Post: "Together, director and orchestra displayed innate synchronicity, including in the jovial Allegro’s meticulous articulations, the Andante’s mystical ease, the third movement’s elegant, lilting melodies and the finale’s impish romp."
- DC Metro Theater Arts: "Although the chamber orchestra or Joshua Bell could command a multiple standing ovation performance, the joining of the two brought a magnitude of emotions far beyond what could be counted. Together, they brought new life to oft-heard orchestral pieces."
Gil Shaham performed the John Williams Concerto with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
- The Boston Musical Intelligencer: "Violinist Gil Shaham’s playing was spectacular, offering a spectrum of emotions and timbres that gave complete commitment to the performance."
- The Boston Globe: "It’s an expertly crafted, full-bodied score that unabashedly evokes the ghosts of great Romantic concertos past. It also fits Shaham’s warm-toned and sunny style like a glove, and he brought out its careful mixture of sinew and disarming lyricism. Stretches of the finale had a driving energy that called to mind the concluding pages of Barber’s Violin Concerto."
Hasse Borup performed Hitt's "Yellowstone" with the Salt Lake Symphony.
- Salt Lake Magazine: "Soloist Hasse Borup gave a stunning performance that first and foremost exhibited his expressive side, while also showing his impressive technical mastery of his instrument."
Pinchas Zukerman performed the Mozart with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra.
- The New York Times: "Given how finely attuned the ensemble’s sound was to changes in repertory — as fizzy and bright in the opening movement of the Mozart as it had been dark in the Bach — Mr. Zukerman’s one-coat-of-high-gloss-fits-all approach could feel staid. And in the double-stopped opening of the Beethoven, his vibrato was so wide that it distorted the harmonies. But his playing is unfailingly charismatic, and the rustic exuberance of the final movement of the Mozart concerto sizzled."
- The Kansas City Star: "Zukerman joined the ensemble for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3, a work of vibrancy and shifting personalities, from pithy to poignant. His cadenzas filled the hall with authority, from the dense double stop treatment to a trill so quiet, yet firm, one could hear his fingertip hitting the violin’s fingerboard."
Leonidas Kavakos performed the Sibelius with the New York Philharmonic.
- The New York Times: "(The concert) began with Leonidas Kavakos’s earthy-toned, improvisatory, even ungainly take on Sibelius’s Violin Concerto."
- New York Classical Review: "The performance reinforced the outstanding qualities familiar from previous concerts this winter: mature, exceptional instrumental playing, and rhetoric without drama—bringing out the greatest beauty and deepest feeling in the music."
Nicola Benedetti performed Symanowski's Second Violin Concerto with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
- Edinburgh Guide: "She gave us an extraordinary and most impressive performance of Karol Symanowski's Second Violin Concert with cadenza time aplenty. First performed in 1933 the four movements moulded into one and was derived from folk music of the Goral people of southern Poland. Bach was Nicola's choice of encore."
Christian Tetzlaff performed the Sibelius with the London Symphony Orchestra.
- The Guardian: "The Sibelius...with Christian Tetzlaff as soloist, was on occasion wayward. Adès’s interpretation was again big in scale and emotionally confrontational, an approach that matched Tetzlaff’s way with the work, phrased in huge lyrical paragraphs and often searchingly intense. Yet the rhapsodic quality of his playing also led to moments of imprecise coordination, with Tetzlaff sometimes rushing Adès’s beat, occasionally falling fractionally behind it."
- Independent: "Christian Tetzlaff’s performance as soloist in the Sibelius was a non-stop tour de force, his sweetly compelling line in the opening developing into power-packed pyrotechnics, his sound in the Adagio passionately eloquent. His encore – a Bach Sarabande – was an unbroken thread of exquisite melody."
David Halen performed the Beethoven with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "Concertmaster David Halen steps out of his usual chair to take the soloist's place next to the podium for this weekend's concerts. Halen, a consummate musician, is noted for his lovely singing tone, and on Friday he did not disappoint in that regard. He had an apparent memory lapse and some related problems early in the first movement, but recovered from them. The concerto received a strong finish, particularly in the sprightly third movement."
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