The Week in Reviews, Op. 354: María Dueñas; Pekka Kuusisto; Alexi Kenney
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 María Dueñas. Photo by Tam Lan Truong.
María Dueñas performed the world premiere of Gabriela Ortiz’s "Altar de Cuerda" with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
- Los Angeles Times: "'Cuerda' was dedicated to Dueñas, (who) is already an exceptional musician. Poised and unshowy, she owns this exceedingly difficult concerto. Her tone is slender but so purposefully focused that it easily carries...when Ortiz asks for a plum-rich, vibrating expressiveness, she manages that brilliantly."
Pekka Kuusisto performed Vaughan Williams' "The Lark Ascending" and conducted the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra.
- Star Tribune: "Kuusisto took a work known as a perfect embodiment of the ethereal, and made it feel like a celebration of the natural world in all its flaws and beauty. He played with a moving sense of loss and longing, as if seeking transcendence but tugged down by sadness, nevertheless continuing to rise."
- TwinCities.com: "In its beginning, the music holds a pastoral quality, filled with longing. Kuusisto just brushes the violin with his bow, making a ghostly sound with his instrument. Later, the volume increases, and we hear the call of the lark in Kuusisto’s playing."
Alexi Kenney performed Bartok’s Violin Concerto No. 2 with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "Soulful and stirring in the opening melodies and dazzling in the runs that followed, Kenney maintained this sense of poise and polish throughout the piece....Truly a marvelous performance."
Margaret Batjer and cellist Andrew Shulman performed Brahms' Double Concerto with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.
Rachel Barton Pine performed the Korngold Violin Concerto with the Vancouver (Washington) Symphony.
- Northwest Reverb: "...she showed her consummate skill and artistry straight away from the initial downbeat. She created sublime lyrical lines, garnished with florid runs and an absolutely sweet but not syrupy tone. Her cadenza contained exciting high notes that set the stage for a wickedly furious ending of the first movement."
Kerson Leong performed Beethoven’s Violin Concerto with the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra.
- The Daily Courier: "The magic began the moment Leong drew his bow across the strings and it was clear both he and conductor Rosemary Thomson understood Beethoven’s vision of soloist and orchestra as equal partners...Even the simplest musical ideas were played with grace and exquisite attention to detail."
Tim Kliphuis performed his own "Ulysses" Violin Concerto with the Wight Symphony Orchestra.
- On the Wight: "The concerto began quietly...then became a virtuoso performance of huge variety and musical delight, led by Mr. Kliphuis and his violin, through a journey of what seemed to me to be every kind of violin playing that I ever heard, plus many I hadn’t even imagined."
Harry Kneeshaw performed and cellist Hugh Mackay performed Delius’ Concerto for Violin and Cello with the City of Cambridge Symphony Orchestra.
- Cambridge Independent: "...more of a tone poem than a concerto in one continuous movement, (they inhabited) the piece gloriously together and with obvious enjoyment. Their distinguished performance of a complex and demanding composition was roundly and deservedly applauded."
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