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The Week in Reviews, Op. 55: Nicola Benedetti, Benjamin Schmid, James Ehnes in Concert

Robert Niles

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Published: November 4, 2014 at 8:13 PM [UTC]

In an effort to promote the coverage of live violin performance, each week presents links to reviews of notable concerts and recitals around the world.

Nicola Benedetti performed Szymanowski's Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

  • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "...the Scottish violinist offered a lustrous, full-bodied sound that highlighted its lyrical qualities, and she used vibrato to shape and forward phrases to great effect. I did love her sensitive encore, an arrangement of 'Auld Lang Syne.'"
  • Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Benedetti's performance was the most impressive of her work at Heinz Hall. She soared when the tessitura was atmospheric, and also drew wonderfully vibrant tone from her lower strings. Most winning of all was the keen focus she brought to the music's unfolding."

Benjamin Schmid
Benjamin Schmid. Photo courtesy the artist

Benjamin Schmid performed Prokofiev's Concerto No. 1 with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

  • Cincinnati Enquirer: "Schmid tossed off its extreme demands without breaking a sweat. He barely moved as he phrased the long, arching theme of the opening bars with a delicate, sweet tone. One of the highlights of the first movement was a section of high glissandos in the violin, played against an ethereal backdrop of harp, flutes and violins. It was a moment of extraordinary atmosphere."

James Ehnes performed works by Tartini, Kreisler and Bach, in recital with pianist Andrew Armstrong.

  • TheaterJones: "One thing was immediately noticeable within a few measures of this first work on the program: Ehnes’ singing, penetrating tone, which was full of warmth."

Midori performed the Schumann with the National Symphony Orchestra.

  • Washington Post: "Midori certainly didn’t do a lot to sell the piece; indeed, she gave an impression of ambivalence."

Gil Shaham performed the Mendelssohn with the New Jersey Symphony.

  • Broadway World Reviews: "...the Mendelssohn was the first recording of Shaham's long and storied career and to his immense credit, nearly thirty years later, he still manages to bring a freshness and vitality to his performance of the work."

Frank Peter Zimmermann performed the Sibelius with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

  • Boston Classical Review: "His playing of the work Thursday night was remarkable for its technical aplomb and a distant, but palpable, tonal warmth."
  • Boston Globe: "Many violinists break up the lengthy first-movement cadenza with dramatic pauses; not so Zimmermann, who seemed to see the whole thing one long, ghostly arc."

Augustin Hadelich performed Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 4 with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

  • NUVO: "Hadelich played its three movements (using his own cadenzas) beautifully, and with a mastery unsurpassed by any other live performance I've heard."

Miriam Fried performed works by Mozart, Brahms and Janácek in recital with her son, pianist Jonathan Biss.

  • Richmond Times-Dispatch: "...the meat of the evening was Beethoven’s Sonata for Violin and Piano in G major. Beginning with the tight bud of a trill, the sonata unfurled into a sweeping and satisfying four movements: serious work buoyed by a sense of play."

Joshua Bell performed works works by Schubert, Grieg and Prokofiev, with pianist Alessio Bax, in South Florida this week.

  • South Florida Classical Review: "Bell’s warm, graceful and effortless performance was the payoff of a technique honed on the concertos of Tchaikovsky and Sibelius."

Benjamin Baker performed Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Suffolk Philharmonic Orchestra.

  • Bury Free Press: "He makes the violin sing and it’s hard to imagine how, at just 24, he can improve in technique or interpretation."

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

Posted on November 4, 2014 at 11:36 PM
Couple of weeks in a row on the non-positive side for Midori?

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