The Week in Reviews, Op. 255: Nicola Benedetti Premieres Wynton Marsalis Piece; Ray Chen; Alina Ibragimova; Leonidas Kavakos
January 22, 2019, 4:06 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.
Composer and jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and violinist Nicola Benedetti. Photo by John Devlin.
Nicola Benedetti performed in recital at Ordway.
- Minneapolis Star Tribune: "...a lighter side of Benedetti's musical nature was highlighted in "Fiddle Dance Suite for Solo Violin" by the jazz trumpeter and composer Wynton Marsalis. Marsalis wrote the suite especially for Benedetti, and Friday evening's performance was the U.S. premiere. Musically the five movements of the suite explore the interface between the fiddle music brought to America by Scottish and Irish immigrants and the gospel, ragtime and jazz traditions already implanted in the continent."
- TwinCities.com: "Not only did Benedetti show off her versatility, she demonstrated that she might just be brilliant with whatever repertoire she touches."
Ray Chen performed Mozart's Concerto No. 5 with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (filling in for Renaud Capuçon, who was ill).
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "Chen, who plays the 1715 'Joachim' Stradivarius, showed off a terrific technique in the Mozart, tossing off an impressive cadenza in the first movement and switching to a sweetly understated lyricism in the second. The 'Turkish' theme that gives the concerto its nickname was purely fun."
Alina Ibragimova performed in recital with pianist Cédric Tiberghien at Wigmore Hall.
- MusicOMH: "Part of the brilliance of the pair’s playing stems from their ability to unite seeming contradictions, so that, for example, Ibragimova’s sound may teem with exuberance, even as she proves to be a master of understatement, while her bowing can feel languid and free, even as each stroke is precisely measured."
Leonidas Kavakos performed in recital with pianist Yuja Wang at Royal Festival Hall.
- Financial Times: "It must be tempting, when challenged to hold an audience’s attention, to rely on charisma and a sense of showmanship. But we’ve come to expect more from the Greek violinist Leonidas Kavakos and Chinese pianist Yuja Wang. For one thing, the two have the quiet confidence of long-term collaborators, having worked together several times in the past five years."
James Ehnes performed the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
- theartsdesk.com: "Ehnes has a distinctive tone, woody and rich, but also vibrant and nimble when required....Technically, he is flawless, of course, but this wasn’t a performance of grandstanding virtuosity. There was often an introverted, even haunted, quality to his playing, so the Fritz Kreisler cadenzas were a good choice, tracing the melodies as shadowy silhouettes beneath the filigree finger work above."
Simone Porter performed Piazzolla's "The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires" with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra.
- Orlando Sentinel: "Porter found the piece’s fire, her bow sliding up and down her instrument. But she also brought out the sweet moments where called for, and she showed lovely phrasing in a solo Bach encore."
Tessa Lark performed the Korngold Violin Concerto with the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra.
- Violinist.com: "Lark played with a wondrous combination of passion and precision. Her familiarity with the piece made it appear she was generating it organically."
Mateusz Wolski performed Dvorak's A minor Violin Concerto with the Spokane Symphony.
- The Spokesman-Review: "There was also a greater degree of freedom – even audacity – in attacking tricky virtuoso passages that imparted an air of deviltry and flamboyance that seemed to excite the members of the orchestra as much as the audience."
Alexi Kenney and cellist Julie Albers performed Jimmy Lopez’s "Guardian of the Horizon" with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, with Pekka Kuusisto conducting.
- Pioneer Press: "They made an exceptional team, Kenney soaring as if striving for transcendence, Albers immersed in earthiness. A lengthy final-movement duet between them was the peak of the piece." Minneapolis Star Tribune: "Jimmy López’s 'Guardian of the Horizon' was written for the composer’s late father....their tightly knitted interplay was riveting, a symbol of unanimity and persistence in eking out solutions to a problematic set of circumstances."
James Ehnes, Matthew Lipman, Scott St. John, Sean Lee and others performed in recital for the Seattle Chamber Music Society.
- The Seattle Times: "What a gift this wintertime presence offers the area’s chamber-music fans, in these traffic-ridden, post-holiday weeks when summer seems an eternity away."
Please support music in your community by attending a concert or recital whenever you can!
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