The Week in Reviews, Op. 301: Leila Josefowicz; Ray Chen; Ilya Gringolts; Augustin Hadelich
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 Leila Josefowicz. Photo by Chris Lee.
Leila Josefowicz performed Oliver Knussen’s Violin Concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
- San Francisco Classical Voice: "In his descriptions of the concerto, Knussen suggests the image of a high-wire act in which the violinist must thread a fine and perilous line between two points represented by the high notes on the violin that begin and end the work. If there was ever a performer that clearly enjoys the thrill of a high-wire performance, it’s Josefowicz."
- LA Times: "Josefowicz, who performed the concerto with the L.A. Phil and Salonen in 2005, owns it. She was Knussen’s favored soloist and recorded it with him. The last of her dozens of performances of the concerto with the composer was two months before he died. Over the weekend she was on fire, delivering an almost impossibly fast and deeply stirring performance."
Ray Chen performed Wieniawski’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
- Chicago Tribune: "Though the piece has its flaws, Chen’s performance did not....Long lyric lines, crisp rhythmic articulation, gorgeous tone and an apparently inexhaustible ability to finesse technical challenges suggested there would be thrilling listening ahead. There was."
- Chicago Classical Review: "Performing on a 1715 Stradivarius owned by Joseph Joachim, the soloist tackled the myriad landmines embedded in the high-flying score–harmonics and double- and triple-stopping all whipped off with a flickering vibrato and copious array of facial grimaces."
Ilya Gringolts performed Heinz Holliger's Violin Concerto "Hommage à Louis Soutter" with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.
- The Scotsman: "The concerto – played here with harrowing conviction by soloist Ilya Gringolts – draws on the starkness of Soutter’s visual images, its brief opening movements breathless and soulful, springing from Berg-like reminiscences, before entering a world of troubled illusion and ultimate thickening despair of the Epilogue."
Augustin Hadelich performed Thomas Ades’ Violin Concerto "Concentric Paths" with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "Augustin Hadelich delivered a gripping account of the concerto....Mr. Hadelich’s playing bit through the texture with just the right amount of edge and intensity, guiding the ear with a firm, inviting sound."
Joshua Brown performed the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with the Lakeview Orchestra.
- Chicago Classical Review: "Soloist Joshua Brown was a revelation in Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto....Brown drew a sweet tone from his Guarneri violin, and even in the concerto’s most florid passages his phrasing was clear yet warm."
Gil Shaham performed Brahms’ Violin Concerto with the Houston Symphony.
- Houston Chronicle: "Shaham’s luminous tone, almost quivering with emotion at times, was especially exquisite when extending the opening passage of the second movement, when the melody seemed to spill out of his instrument like tears."
- Texas Classical Review: "Shaham savored the first movement’s drama, sweeping dynamically through some of its outbursts and stretching out the walloping climaxes of others. He brought passion and restlessness to the slow movement’s ruminations, and his swaggering rhythms and gutsy tone let the finale exude rugged Brahmsian spirit."
Pamela Frank performed all six Bach sonatas for violin and harpsichord with pianist Stephen Prutsman at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater.
- The Washington Post: "Frank’s sound remains rich and lustrous, especially in the lower reaches, and the intonation and musical sense are as sure as ever. Frank expertly unpacked the interweaving lines of each sonata, shared between the violin and the keyboard part played by Stephen Prutsman on modern piano (replacing Peter Serkin). "
Alexi Kenney performed Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor with the Sarasota Orchestra.
- Herald-Tribune: "Kenney played with a sense of poetry and authenticity and with ample impressive technique."
- YourObserver.com: "With a solid technique, rather grand gestures and ample rubato, he provided one of the most sensitive and musical performances of this concerto that I’ve yet heard."
Keir GoGwilt performed Celeste Oram's "a loose affiliation of alleluias" with the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus.
- : "The violinist was Keir GoGwilt, a formidable soloist as well as a confident improviser. Most of his part consists of verbal directions, with a few sections in which Oram gave him harmonies over which to create his own melodies. Such was GoGwilt’s self-assurance that many in the audience must have assumed that he had memorized his part; his contribution to 'a loose affiliation' was invaluable."
Pekka Kuusisto performed Nico Muhly’s Violin Concerto "Shrink" with the Australian Chamber Orchestra Collective.
- The Sydney Morning Herald: "The prolific composer, 38, equally at home at the Metropolitan Opera or with indie rock, has had a long collaboration and friendship with Kuusisto, who met the concerto’s ferocious demands with relish."
Sayaka Shoji performed Brahms’ Violin Concerto with the Philharmonia Orchestra.
- The Cambridge Independent: "Her delivery throughout was astonishing in that she somehow made the sound of this comparatively small instrument fill the entire hall with its warmth and beauty."
Sandy Cameron performed Danny Elfman's Violin Concerto "Eleven Eleven" with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
- The Spectator: "The Royal Scottish National Orchestra under John Mauceri played the UK première of Elfman’s new violin concerto, a four-movement work performed with bouncy, boogying verve by the violinist Sandy Cameron."
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