The Week in Reviews, Op. 235: Patricia Kopatchinskaja; William Hagen; Primrose Viola Competition Finalists
June 18, 2018, 5:01 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.
Patricia Kopatchinskaja led the Ojai Music Festival.
- Los Angeles Times: "Under Kopatchinskaja, this year’s festival was one of the brightest and most fun-filled in the 71-year history, and also the most defiantly dark and sobering."
- Santa Barbara Independent: "In an extraordinary series of concert events, the young musician delivered surprise after surprise. From a moveable wall and crashing music stands in the finale of Thursday’s Bye Bye Beethoven to iPhones, metronomes, trombones, and musicians prone in and around Galina Ustvolskaya’s Dies irae on Saturday night, Kopatchinskaja and her collaborators created unforgettable combinations of sound and action, all while hewing closely to a well-informed and musically exacting agenda."
- San Francisco Chronicle: "Her tenure as the festival’s music director, a position that rotates each year, seems to have been infused with a spirit of serious exuberance....the sense that many more things are possible under the sun than tradition and dogma tell us."
- Ventura County Star: "From piquant to powerful, Ojai Music Festival 2018 music director Patricia Kopatchinskaja engaged audiences young and old, novices and longtime aficionados. With her ever-changing, ever-surprising choices for the 72nd celebration of wide-ranging classical music, the violinist and conceptualist found many ways to inject humor, power and meaning into her vision of Ojai’s signature cultural event."
- San Francisco Classical Voice: "From its opening cadenza to its closing cadenza, this was an Ojai Festival that raised issues, had remarkable moments of musical illumination, and pushed buttons in the name of an art ideal that raises consciousness. Some found it provocative. Some were angry. Everyone was talking."
William Hagen performed Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 4 with the Grant Park Orchestra.
- Chicago Classical Review: "The young violinist began in straightforward fashion, with the opening movement of K.218 proficient rather than distinctive, though his playing of Mozart’s cadenza showed a more individual touch. The Salt Lake City native was at his best in the slow movement, flowing and gracious with a slender refinement just right for this music. Hagen added an extra bit of virtuosic fizz to the finale, spicing the Rococo elegance of the closing Rondeau just enough to keep things interesting without going out of period."
Hae-Sue Lee, Zoë Martin-Doike and Leonid Plashinov-Johnson each performed the Walton Viola Concerto with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra in the Finals for the Primrose International Viola Competition.
- Violinist.com: "(The second movement) was when (Hae-Sue Lee) seemed to hit her stride, giving a punchy and intense performance that highlighted the rhythmic complexity of this movement. It was downright exciting "
Anne-Sophie Mutter performed the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
- The Sydney Morning Herald: "Anne-Sophie Mutter prevailed with such astonishing clarity, strength and tonal polish, that the verdict by great 19th century violinist Leopold Auer that Tchaikovsky's work was unplayable seems positively feeble and pusillanimous. Mutter's sound in peak moments was thrilling, radiant and powerful without a hint of abrasiveness except where a little vigour was needed to give the tone a fresh flush. Her precision of intonation and articulation was impeccable."
Gil Shaham performed the Brahms Violin Concerto with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.
- NJ.com"As an artist, Shaham throws himself athletically into his playing, often coiling himself down in a crouched position before playing big notes or difficult passages. And yet, the fiddler never seemed phony, his gestures all seemed in service of Brahms' music and he elicited a creamy, sweet tone throughout."
Nicola Benedetti performed works by Telemann and Vivaldi with the Academy of Ancient Music.
- Henley Standard: "Passages that all too often are made by lesser players to sound “difficult” and “virtuosic” flow from her bow with apparent ease. She produces music — not notes — and, even within the confines of baroque traditions and its strict regard to form. can move the audience with the power of her interpretation."
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