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The Week in Reviews, Op. 51: Jennifer Koh, Bella Hristova, Philippe Quint in Concert

Robert Niles

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Published: October 7, 2014 at 8:23 PM [UTC]

In an effort to promote the coverage of live music, each week brings you links to reviews of notable violin performances from around the world.

Jennifer Koh performed the Sibelius with the Berkeley Symphony

  • San Jose Mercury News: "Koh gave the kind of fiercely focused, technically brilliant performance that makes doubters into true believers."
  • The San Francisco Chronicle: "Koh has been a formidable performer here over the years, in both standard repertoire and new music. But in the Sibelius, she and Carneiro couldn’t agree on even basic tempo decisions, and neither one could spur the other to give the music much vitality or flavor."

Bella Hristova
Bella Hristova. Photo courtesy the artist

Bella Hristova performed Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Rogue Valley Symphony

  • Mail Tribune: "...she mixed exquisite phrasing with brilliant tonality. This is one of the finest concertos of the 20th century, and Hristova seemed at home in its soul-stirring torment and sheer Russian soul."

Philippe Quint performed the Korngold with the Seattle Symphony

  • The Seattle Times: "Quint’s technique was solid, and his passionate commitment to the score was evident in every line."

Anne-Sophie Mutter performed Bruch's First Violin Concerto with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra at Carnegie Hall

  • The New York Times: "At 51, Ms. Mutter remains as probing and adventurous as ever. In the Bruch work, her sound was dusky and rich. Yet it is hard to speak of a Mutter sound, since she always finds specific colorings and qualities to match the musical moment."
  • New York Classical Review: "Anne-Sophie Mutter, still the most glamorous violinist in the world after a thirty-some year career, has the requisite star power to rattle off a sensational performance of this concerto, and she did just that. She was fiercely assertive in the first movement, employing idiomatic turns of phrase that put her unique stamp on the piece. Rattle led an intense, pulsating accompaniment."

Frank Peter Zimmerman performed the Mendelssohn with the Philarmonia Orchestra

  • South Wales Evening Post: "Frank Peter Zimmerman, one of Germany's leading violinists took the lead here and was mesmerising. The rest of the orchestra were still brilliant, but it was difficult to remove your eyes from the work of this maestro who seemed to stretch the violin beyond its capabilities."

Alexandre Da Costa performed Michael Daugherty's Fire and Blood with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra

  • Ottawa Citizen: "The first movement, Volcano, echoes Rivera’s fiery, voracious nature, as well as the dangerous flames of revolution being fanned both in Mexico and the U.S. by the Great Depression. This is unabashedly macho music, and the passionate, charismatic Da Costa threw his back into it with muscle and verve. The second movement, River Rouge, pays tribute to Rivera’s wife, Frieda Kahlo. Da Costa shifted into the section’s slithering sensuality and eerie mood, redolent of Kahlo’s paintings, the yin to the outer movements’ yang. Assembly Line, the final movement, rattled and hummed like a factory, with Da Costa like a crazed foreman constantly pushing for more speed, more power, and more cowbell."

Jeremy Mastrangelo performed all of Johannes Brahms' violin sonatas in recital with Juan La Manna

  • The Oswegonian: "The audience was treated to Mastrangelo’s animated and lively playing."

Baiba Skride performed the Martin with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra

  • Pioneer Press: "Equally graceful and lyrical was Latvian violinist Skride, who brought a firm hand and a fascinating imagination to the Martin concerto. It was an impassioned performance, a deeply involving first-movement cadenza giving way to an urgent Andante and a swashbuckling finale a la Erich Korngold."

Finally, "Requiem for Michael Brown" — Several audience members staged a musical protest of the killing of an unarmed Black youth in Missouri this summer, before the start of the St. Louis Symphony's performance of the Brahms Requiem.

  • The Washington Post: "The group was surprised by the response, said Derek Laney, an organizer for Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment. Instead of being ushered out in handcuffs by police, some patrons of the symphony — and some symphony members themselves — applauded the tuneful message. The group left on their own after about a minute and a half of singing, while they chanted 'Blacks Lives Matter.'"

Please support live music in your community by attending a concert or recital whenever you can!

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