The Week in Reviews, Op. 328: Gil Shaham, Augustin Hadelich, Midori, Robert 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 Gil Shaham. Photo by Chris Lee.
Gil Shaham performed the Berg Violin Concerto with the New York Philharmonic in a concert that marked conductor Michael Tilson Thomas' return to the podium after brain surgery.
- New York Classical Review: "In the hands of Tilson Thomas and violin soloist Gil Shaham, Berg’s concerto was a model of restraint, saying more in its nuanced phrasing and bright dialogue of soloist with individual orchestral players than in any amount of crashing melodrama. In general, the violinist’s tone was more silvery than warm, but his voicing in double-stops was outstandingly clear and expressive."
Augustin Hadelich performed in recital with pianist Orion Weiss at St. Paul's Ordway Concert Hall.
- Star-Tribune: "Perkinson's 'Blue/s Forms for Solo Violin' was where the concert really kicked into gear. After bringing chills on the work's slow movement, Hadelich cut loose with an untethered and unfailingly exciting finale. The energy level in the room seemed to double."
Midori performed the world premiere of Detlev Glanert’s Violin Concerto No. 2, "To the Immortal Beloved" with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
- The Times: "Throughout this concert in Edinburgh, her playing was lyrical, warm and full of expressive intensity; a reminder of why she’s a star."
- The Scotsman: "...it’s a work also driven by softly energised modernism, waves of fitfulness that find their greatest emotional outpourings in the keynote cadenzas. These found Midori at her most grippingly authoritative, firm but teasingly sensitive."
Robert Chen, CSO Concertmaster, performed Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
- Chicago Classical Review: "Chen gave a consummate performance of the beloved concerto, lending the lively virtuosic passages shape and finesse instead of merely sawing away at them. He especially excelled in the Adagio, imbuing the lyrical passages with a tastefully chosen, heartbreaking portamenti that would have made Heifetz proud."
Ning Feng performed Elgar’s violin concerto with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
- The Guardian: "Chinese violinist Ning Feng gave a rich-toned and muscular account....Ning Feng’s encore, Paganini’s variations on God Save the King, was absolutely dazzling."
Blake Pouliot performed the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Sarasota Orchestra.
- Herald-Tribune: "His technique more than matched the technical demands of this concerto. There was a soft musicality as well when leaning on the sentimentality of Tchaikovsky’s melodic gifts."
Ray Chen performed the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Seattle Symphony.
- The Seattle Times: "...one of the strings on his instrument snapped. He momentarily tried to continue, giving a look to conductor Ludovic Morlot, before quickly exchanging violins with concertmaster Noah Geller, and then playing on as the audience applauded."
Leonid Sigal, HSO Concertmaster, performed Wynton Marsalis' Violin Concerto with the Hartford Symphony.
- Hartford Courant: "Sigal cuts loose on that uproarious Wynton Marsalis violin concerto, taking the composer’s gloriously frantic solo (which almost has the fire and staccato wail of Marsalis’ own famed trumpet playing) as a personal challenge. He makes his violin whistle, rasp, shriek. The notes fly about like buzzing insects."
Ruben Rengel performed Korngold’s Concerto for Violin in D major with Symphoria.
- Syracuse.com: "Rengel enthralled the audience with an emotionally rich performance of Korngold’s 1945 concerto."
Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider performed the Sibelius Violin Concerto with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "Szeps-Znaider plays the Guarnerius “del Gesu” violin made in 1741 that once belonged to Fritz Kreisler, so it was appropriate that his encore...was music by Kreisler."
Nikki Chooi (BPO Concertmaster) performed the Brahms Violin Concerto with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.
- The Buffalo News: "Chooi played with energy, sensitivity, great musicianship and outstanding technical agility."
Leonidas Kavakos performed in recital with pianist Yuja Wang at Carnegie Hall.
- New York Classical Review: "...though the concert ended with a great and sustained flourish, the opening Bach Violin Sonata No. 3 in E Major, BWV 1016, was astoundingly shaky, in a way that struck one as impossible for the caliber of these musicians."
Daniel Pioro performed Tom Coult’s violin concerto, "Pleasure Garden" with the BBC Philharmonic.
- The Guardian: "Violinist Daniel Pioro was an assured soloist, switching with ease between an embedded near-tutti role, and his position as the orchestra’s sparring partner."
- theartsdesk.com: "Pioro played the demanding solo of the concerto with as much bravura as could be wished and made his instrument produce a remarkably big sound at times..."
- The Times: "The only obvious drawback to Tom Coult’s Pleasure Garden — the first fruit of Coult’s stint as the orchestra’s composer-in-association — was that it didn’t behave like the violin concerto that had been advertised."
Cellist Guy Johnston performed in recital with pianist Chiao-Wen Cheng at St. Luke's in Atlanta.
- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Johnston seems to have it all. His communication is direct, his playing lyrical and unmannered, his tone robust and soulful. He plays with the kind of understated (but technically perfect) virtuosity and charisma that makes it all look effortless."
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