The Week in Reviews, Op. 142: Ray Chen, Chloë Hanslip, Nicola Benedetti
August 2, 2016, 12:08 PM · 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.
Ray Chen performed the Bruch at the BBC Proms.
Express: "It was Ray Chen’s first Prom appearance, so we settled down to sit in judgement of his handling of the Bruch Violin Concerto. That first drawn out note that ushers his entrance into the piece was like nothing I had ever heard. Rich, impossibly smooth and shimmering with passion, this was something special.
New Statesman: "...it was Ray Chen’s playing that proved to be most magnetic. The young Taiwanese-Australian soloist steered clear of melodrama in favour of a clean and animated sound. More subtle was his attention to the orchestra. The performance moved from furious cadenza to swelling sound, as if all players shared the same chain of thought. Between movements, someone coughed. I hated them."
Chloë Hanslip premiered Michael Berkeley's violin concerto at the BBC Proms.
Independent: "...this striking work is less a concerto and more a threnody for solo violin, a song of grief whose cries become a shout of anger as the violinist trades their acoustic instrument for an electric one. With Hanslip as passionate, eloquent advocate the work hit hard, daring to make death beautiful in music whose songs strove constantly against the rumbling disagreements on timpani and tabla."
The Guardian: "Hanslip takes up the raw electric violin for the finale, a ferocious outpouring of rage and grief, though a quiet coda in which she reverts to the standard instrument brings the work to a close in a mood of resignation. Her performance can only be described as a tour de force."
Nicola Benedetti performed the Marsalis with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Violinist.com: "Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti played the piece with full commitment and mastery, still reading from the score, which may yet undergo further changes before its next performances..."
Los Angeles Times: "There is considerable changeable incident at all times. But there is also the consistency of Benedetti’s soulful, gorgeous classical sound. Her job is not to bring the character of a jazz violinist, which she never pretends to be. The orchestra gets all the jive."
Pinchas Zukerman performed Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 5 with the Cleveland Orchestra.
The Plain Dealer: "Zukerman played with a steely tone that was brilliant in its treble range, and husky and rich in the lower reaches. Fine intonation, a full-range spectrum of dynamics, generous vibrato and always thoughtful and vivid phrasing were the hallmarks of his performance."
Augustin Hadelich performed the Sibelius with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Boston Classical Review: "At 32 years old, the German violinist commands a full, singing tone and spectacular technique, though he doesn’t flaunt either. He kept the piece’s virtuosic flair under tight control, and he played with a smoothness of tone that brought a supple and understated quality to this barnstorming concerto. That may, in part, be due to Hadelich’s instrument, a 1723 “Ex-Kiesewetter,” which sounded with a silvery glow."
Berkshire Eagle: "On Saturday night, Augustin Hadelich went to the lonely heart of the Sibelius Violin Concerto as soloist. In one of the most difficult concertos ever written, the German-born violinist gave no hint of the technical traps. Instead, with a dark, sometimes throaty tone, he made Sibelius' isolation in the northern woods all but painful to endure. The whirlwind finale became a dance of death. The BSO accompaniment was tailored to fit."
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