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The Week in Reviews, Op. 56: Andrew Sords, Midori, Maxim Vengerov in Concert

Robert Niles

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Published: November 12, 2014 at 4:37 AM [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.

Midori performed the Schumann with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra.

  • Orlando Sentinel: "Midori also was a kinetic force, leaning at odd angles as she executed the quicksilver arpeggios in Schumann's Concerto. Although diminutive, she played powerfully enough to lift the passages over the orchestra's imposing presence, especially in the first movement. Midori's flawless technique was more apparent in the second movement, with its tender melody accompanied by a more subdued backdrop of strings. As the piece reached its finale, Midori had another chance to shine as she unleashed yet more gleeful showers of notes."

Andrew Sords
Andrew Sords. Photo courtesy the artist

Andrew Sords performed the Sibelius with the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra

  • Chattanooga Times Free Press: "Jean Sibelius’ “Violin Concerto in D Minor, Op. 47” has the potential to be a barnburner, and Andrew Sords did not disappoint....The first movement contains ardent and melancholy themes, interspersed with plenty of cadenza-like passages for the soloist to display his prowess. And Sords did, ripping off countless glittering passages, strewn with multiple stops. And when Sibelius finally managed to produce a hummable melody, Sords responded with a rich and full tone, especially in his low register...Tchaikovsky-like melody filled the second movement as the soloist soared and sang...The finale is a frenzied dance movement that annotator Donald Tovey called a “polonaise for polar bears.” It was a breath-taking romp, demanding nothing less than a bravura performance from the highly animated soloist who twisted and turned, weaved and bobbed as he cajoled sounds from his instrument and fellow players."

Maxim Vengerov performed the Tchaikovsky with the St Petersburg Philharmonic.

  • The Guardian: " At its best, it was a poised affair that didn’t always fully probe the work’s emotional resonances, and the relationship between Vengerov and the orchestra seemed, on occasion, to be in less than perfect accord."

Gil Shaham performed Prokofiev's Second Violin Concerto with the San Francisco Symphony.

  • "Shaham has set for himself a major project in documenting performances of violin concertos composed during the 1930s....Shaham clearly has great affection for this decade, and he has backed up his enthusiasm with both technical and scholarly insights. Those insights were just as evident in last night’s approach to Opus 63, providing the concerto with a right and proper place between the 'temporal extremes' of the full program."

Sarah Chang performed the Sibelius with the Madison Symphony Orchestra

  • Madison Magazine: "...the erstwhile prodigy now longtime dominating artist is welcome anytime. Put the Sibelius Violin Concerto in front of her, and it’s time to consider installing seat belts at Overture Center."

Baiba Skride performed Gubaidulina's “Offertorium” with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

  • Boston Globe: "The young Latvian violinist Baiba Skride took up the fiercely difficult solo line. She in fact plays the work on Kremer’s violin, on loan to her, but she finds her own way with it, placing fearless technique at the service of a streamlined sincerity. At key moments she favored a fast narrow vibrato that felt tailored to the music’s particular expressive goals, its anatomy of an embattled rapture."

Nikolaj Znaider performed the Beethoven with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra.

  • Boston Globe: "Znaider plays with dazzling technique and a robust tone that manages to sing in every register. He handled the filigree of the concerto’s first movement with near-perfect precision, with only a few slips marring an otherwise exceptional performance."

Jennifer Koh performed the Salonen with the Seattle Symphony

  • Seattle Times: "Guest soloist Jennifer Koh played the violin solo in Salonen’s concerto from 2009 — a role of extreme energy. The violin rarely stops throughout the work’s four movements, and for much of that Koh was playing very fast. It’s a showpiece work, requiring enormous technical skill, dexterity, and alertness in order not to lose a place in these torrents of notes."

Alexandra Soumm performed the Sibelius with the London Philharmonic.

  • The Guardian: "That had its moments, especially the opening, with the beautifully shaded solo playing perfectly cushioned by the LPO strings, but as the work went on, Soumm seemed to be trying too hard to make her performance intense and wrought."

Itamar Zorman performed works by Bach, Hindemith, Brahms and Schnittke, in recital with pianist Kwan Yi

  • Classicalite: "Israeli violinist Itamar Zorman, named just this week a nominee for the first annual Warner Music Prize, made his Carnegie Hall debut last night with a wide-ranging program of music by Bach, Hindemith, Brahms and Schnittke at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall."

In other news this week, the Atlanta Symphony has reached an agreement with its musicians and ended its lockout.

  • Daily Mail: "The management and musicians' union on Saturday approved the new labor deal after prolonged negotiations brokered by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, a US government agency. Under the new agreement, musicians won a six percent pay increase over the next four years, but agreed to pay higher premiums for their health insurance....Under the compromise, the orchestra would employ 77 musicians but reach 88 by the end of the four-year contract."

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

Posted on November 14, 2014 at 11:49 AM
Congratulations to our own Andrew Sords! Great Review Andrew! Very happy for you!

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