The Week in Reviews, Op. 285: Itzhak Perlman; Gil Shaham; Robert McDuffie
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 Itzhak Perlman.
Itzhak Perlman performed Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Ravinia.
- Chicago Tribune: "From Perlman’s opening notes there was no mistaking the singing, soaring quality of his tone, the urgency of his high notes and, of course, his characteristically fleet technique. In Perlman’s hands, the adagio movement spoke with unmistakable melodic clarity and moments of intimacy and stillness not easily achieved in an outdoor setting. Perlman threw off the finale’s technically challenging passages finale with apparent ease, and with a welcome musicality. The ardor of his final pages inspired many ovations, which were merited."
Gil Shaham performed the Brahms Violin Concerto with The Knights at Tanglewood.
- Berkshire Eagle: "In the Brahms concerto, Shaham, a frequent Knights collaborator, exercised sovereign command in both the virtuosic and the lyrical passages, sort of going back and forth between being a gymnast and a gentleman, with cleanly focused, gleaming tone."
- The Boston Musical Intelligencer: "Gil Shaham’s expressive range, from the sweet lyricism of the slow movement to the fiery drama of the finale, is well known, and he was in prime form. Eric Jacobsen captured the frequent and flexible changes of tempo and dynamics that such ultra-romantic music demands and rarely gets."
Robert McDuffie performed an all-American recital at the Aspen Music Festival.
- Aspen Times: "He gave Jay Ungar’s bittersweet tune 'Ashokan Farewell' his trademark lyrical touch and followed that with Jascha Heifetz’s violin-and-piano arrangement of 'It Ain’t Necessarily So' from Gershwin’s 'Porgy and Bess' that delivered all the swing and flavor of Cab Calloway (if he were a violinist)."
Nicola Benedetti performed Wynton Marsalis' Concerto in D for Violin and Orchestra with the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra.
Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider performed Elgar's Violin Concerto in B Minor with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra.
- Limelight Magazine: "How wonderful...to be able to hear this concerto performed using the same violin Kreisler premiered it on, the 1741 Guarneri del Gesù....Hearing his Saturday-night performance at the Perth Concert Hall, it was hard to imagine it being in better hands."
- The West Australian: "An imposing figure, Szeps-Znaider seemed to draw unusual warmth from the ensemble as though born of deep respect, especially in close partnership with violins."
Bella Hristova performed Mozart's Concerto No. 5 with the Lake Placid Sinfonietta.
- Lake Placid News: "Hristova...had a commanding stage presence to go along well with her total command of her nearly priceless violin."
Leonidas Kavakos performed the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood.
- The Berkshire Edge: "Leonidas Kavakos took liberties with Beethoven’s violin concerto....He played his own arrangement of the first-movement cadenza that Beethoven originally transcribed for piano; added his own idiomatic flourishes to many passages; and, to clinch his total conquest of the piece, he conducted the Boston Symphony Orchestra while playing it. How dare he? Here’s how: by following tradition."
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