The Week in Reviews, Op. 291: Daniel Bernard Roumain; Anne-Sophie Mutter; Joshua Bell; Ray Chen
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.
Violinist and composer Daniel Bernard Roumain, "DBR."
Daniel Bernard Roumain ("DBR") performed his own "Voodoo Violin Concerto" with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
- Baltimore Sun: "Daniel Bernard Roumain’s 'Voodoo Violin Concerto' was a treat — and just what the doctor ordered. Roumain, as both composer and soloist, at times seemed to be cajoling the orchestra as much as the audience, as he riffed, shredded and crooned (literally — the piece contains a vocal section) his way through this music, which alternated between frantic, jazzy motifs and more soaring, pastoral sections."
- Washington Post: "His concerto marshals familiar tropes from jazz, blues and folk music in an exuberant synthesis that is neither forced nor hackneyed, as such quotes too often are. Fiddling on his amplified instrument, or taking his bow in his teeth to pluck the strings like a guitar, and even singing into the mic at one point, he drew the orchestra after him in call-and-response episodes, and the audience into enthusiastic applause, a response to this welcome jolt of musical reality in a normally rarefied world."
Anne-Sophie Mutter performed the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.
- Cincinnati Business Courier: "Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D Major is one of her signature pieces, a work she has no doubt performed hundreds of times. Nevertheless, her reading was both fresh and strikingly individual. Her phrasing in the first movement was thoughtful and unrushed. She communicated on her Stradivarius with glowing tone, savoring every note in a way that drew the listener in. Her range of color, particularly her ethereal pianissimos, was enthralling. The first-movement cadenza was a feat of effortless virtuosity." (See this story for more about the cell phone interruption during the concert.)
Joshua Bell performed the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor and Mozart's K. 261 Adagio in E major with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
- The Dallas Morning News: "In both works, Bell's tone was as of spun gold, and he tossed off technical challenges as if he could have dispatched them at twice the tempo."
Ray Chen performed the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
- Limelight: "As in the first movement, Chen made a point of playing up the technical challenges, investing them with a Paganini-like brilliance, often holding his instrument with an elevated left hand, as though he was aiming at some imaginary clay pigeon in the rafters. A sustained and rapturous reception ensued for Chen."
- The Sydney Morning Herald: "To his great credit, Chen brought out the score’s underlying brilliance – not just in the skittering finale but also across the breadth of the restless Allegro first movement. Technical skill aside (and this rarely faltered), Chen focused on the concerto’s powerful melodic arches, soaring across the MSO’s support with assurance and a powerful right arm that impressed almost as much as the player’s weighty vibrato."
Paul Huang performed the Dvorak Violin Concerto with the Long Beach Symphony.
- LA Opus: "Mr. Huang’s solo entry, only five measures in, sounded vigorously authoritative without any audible gear-change from the slow opening. Thereafter the movement gathered pace and coherence until it arrived at a beautifully spacious account of Dvorák’s subtle elision into the slow movement....the Allegro giocoso Finale was even more memorable, dancingly airborne from start to finish, but with Mr. Huang’s perfectly focused intonation never compromised despite the speeds. "
Anne Akiko Meyers performed Adam Schoenberg's "Orchard in Fog" Violin Concerto with the Louisville Orchestra.
- Arts-Louisville.com: "Violinist Anne Akiko Meyers (gave) a hauntingly beautiful performance....Meyers plays with such emotion and gravitas that you can tell the composer knew her strengths and wrote a work that would showcase them beautifully. It was a privilege to see her perform live."
Leila Josefowicz performed John Adams' "Scheherazade.2" with the Philadelphia Orchestra.
- The Philadelphia Inquirer: "It’s also one of Adams’ best pieces, especially with the orchestra in top form and a soloist with the fearless commitment of Josefowicz, who plays almost entirely contemporary music. She has extensively championed Adams’ Violin Concerto and has played Scheherazade.2 some 50 times."
Liza Ferschtman performed the Korngold Violin Concerto with the Toledo Symphony.
- The Blade: "She possesses a singing tone and a lyricism quite suited to the work, much of which is drawn from the film scores of the composer."
Christian Tetzlaff performed the Berg Violin Concerto with the Philharmonia Orchestra.
- The Guardian: "The surge of emotion at the start of the second movement was all the more shocking after the grace and restraint of what had gone before, and the closing section, as the violin line drifts upwards over a Bach chorale, was as profound as it was beautiful."
- theartsdesk.com: "Most impressive was the balance between solo violin and ensemble, which I have often found problematic in this piece. Here Tetzlaff found his own sonic space, not afraid to play quietly, very sensitively accompanied by Salonen and the Philharmonia, cushioning but never stifling the soloist. Tetzlaff not only recalls 1980s-era Billy Connolly physically but also has his sure sense of rhythm and phrasing, albeit in a more rarified sphere, and his rhapsodic playing had a similar feeling of inspired improvisation.">
Julia Fischer performed the Britten Violin Concerto with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
- theartsdesk.com: "There was a total consonance rare in concerto partnerships between Julia Fischer and her orchestral colleagues in the Britten: essential since especially in one of the earliest of the composer's great Passacaglias this is as much a symphony-concerto as Prokofiev's work for cello and orchestra of that name."
Pinchas Zukerman and cellist Amanda Forsyth performed with the Lincoln Symphony Orchestra.
- Lincoln Journal-Star: "The two soloists worked extremely well together, sensing each other’s feelings about the phrases and solos....Excellence prevailed and the inside communications meant the entire work was balanced and nearly perfect."
Andrew Sords performed in recital with violinist Mari Sato, violist Eric Wong, cellist Nathanael Matthews, and pianist Elizabeth DeMio in Cleveland.
- ClevelandClassical.com: "(The group) brought a restrained clarity to (Shostakovich Piano Quintet's) broodingly gray Fugue, and a vigorous punch to its surprisingly ebullient and quick-witted Scherzo. The jewel of the set was the fourth-movement Intermezzo, where the performers plumbed its profound depths."
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