The Week in Reviews, Op. 366: Melissa White; Christian Tetzlaff; Teng Li; Pekka Kuusisto
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 Melissa White. Photo by Dario Acosta.
Melissa White performed Vivaldi’s "The Four Seasons" with the Aspen Festival Orchestra.
- The Aspen Times: "Each mini-concerto drew a distinctive picture of spring, summer, autumn and winter, and the byplay between the soloist and individual players in the orchestra emerged clearly and comfortably.... For her part, White clearly connected with the audience and did it without pandering."
Christian Tetzlaff performed Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1 the Grant Park Orchestra.
- Chicago Classical Review: "Christian Tetzlaff’s mesmerizing performance Friday night with the Grant Park Orchestra seemed to deliver every element of Shostakovich’s fascinating, multifaceted work....Tetzlaff played this searching music with a spare, at times shell-shocked, expression, plumbing a deep vein of searching rumination."
Teng Li performed Paganini's Sonata per la Grand Viola with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and conductor Lina González-Granados at the Hollywood Bowl.
- Violinist.com: "Teng Li... served up some amazing technique: a mad-wicked up-bow staccato, fast precision trills and high-climbing arpeggios that landed firmly in what would be the insanely high, upper-altitude nosebleed regions of the E string, but on the viola - unbelievably it was the A string. Her double-stops flowed like they were effortless (we know better), and she played with easy confidence and a loose vibrato, drawing a gorgeous voice from the 500-year-old Peregrino di Zanetto viola she plays."
- Los Angeles Times: "The viola part explores not only the instrument’s rich low register, but in the variations goes dazzlingly high with stratospheric harmonics. Li made a meal of it. Her viola — starkly expressive in the recitative, rich and resonant in the song and dazzlingly virtuosic in the variations — might have been a superhuman mezzo-soprano."
Pekka Kuusisto performed Daníel Bjarnason's Violin Concerto "Scordatura" with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and conductor Dalia Stasevska at the Hollywood Bowl.
- San Francisco Classical Voice: "The concerto is influenced by Scandinavian folk tunes that Kuusisto likes to play...(it) opens with Kuusisto plucking and whistling....if anyone thought that this would be tough going for a Bowl audience, the considerable ovation would have made one think again."
- Los Angeles Times: "'Scordatura,' which begins strangely with the violinist playing a duet with himself, whistling while plucking strings of his violin, is an enthralling vehicle for Kuusisto. The violinist has a winning aspect, all but made for the Bowl’s large video screens, of being an old-school nonchalant virtuoso able to effortlessly toss off anything while at the same time demonstrating, through vivid facial expression, emotional entrancement."
Randall Goosby performed the Bruch Violin Concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra and conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin.
- The Daily Gazette: "He projected a cool and confident demeanour and from the opening highly nuanced bars, he played with deep bowing, a lot of passion and lift to his phrases and a clean technique."
Jennifer Koh performed Missy Mazzoli’s Violin Concerto "Procession" with the Philharmonia Orchestra and conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali.
- The Guardian: "Koh played the concerto in a neat, yet almost understated way, and offered some equally self-contained Bach as her encore."
Benjamin Beilman and Thais Chernyavsky performed Jake Heggie’s "Intonations Songs From the Violins of Hope" at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music.
- San Francisco Classical Voice: "Intonations is a searing work, beneficiary of all of Heggie and (Gene) Scheer’s experience creating operas together, poured into this vessel of a song cycle."
Joshua Bell performed Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
- Violinist.com: "The last movement seemed to fit best with the entire situation, frenetic and fast, flying the whole time and sounding great..."
Gil Shaham performed the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the National Repertory Orchestra at Wolf Trap.
- MD Theatre Guide: "Shaham’s virtuosity was breathtaking. He brought forth feats of technical brilliance—lightning-fast runs, and flawless double-stop passages—together with an astonishing musicality..."
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