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The Week in Reviews, Op. 23: James Ehnes, Hilary Hahn, Caroline Goulding in concert

Robert Niles

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Published: March 18, 2014 at 10:16 PM [UTC]

In an effort to promote the coverage of classical music, each week brings you links to reviews of notable violin performances from around the world. We'd love to hear about any recent concerts and recitals you've attended, too. Or just tell us what you think about these reviews!

James Ehnes

James Ehnes performed the Bartók Violin Concerto No. 2 with the Seattle Symphony

  • Seattle Times: "On every level — brilliance of technique, depth of interpretation, ensemble accuracy, and an obvious bone-deep love for the music — Ehnes lifted the concerto to dizzying heights, along with partnership from guest maestro André de Ridder."

Hilary Hahn performed the Brahms with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra

  • The Star-Ledger: "Her performance was uncommonly subtle and intimate, showing a definite interpretation and sensibility."
  • "The soloist’s demeanour was a demonstration of an artist’s total absorption in the work at hand."

Caroline Goulding performed the Korngold with the Florida Orchestra

  • Tampa Bay Times: "Honestly, better pieces have been written to showcase the violin, but listening to Goulding more than made up the difference."

Joshua Bell performed the Bach with and conducted the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields

  • South Florida Classical Review: "...his best effort came in his day job as violin virtuoso, with a blazing performance of Saint-Saëns’ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso."
  • Palm Beach Daily News: "The soloist was always audible — the crescendos didn’t cover the soloist. The cadenza featured extreme double stops. There was a lot of applause at the end of this movement." (sic)

Karina Canellakis performed Michael McLean's Elements with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra

  • Isthmus: "('Elements') is, no doubt about it, a virtuosic workout for the soloist. Canellakis seemed to relish the challenges and met them with wonderful aplomb (and without the handicap of music the audience already knows)." (Editor's note: Lovely that they reviewed this performance of the excellent composition "Elements" by Michael McLean, unfortunately, they described the wrong composer! The composer of "Elements" is Michael McLean, 47, of Los Angeles! Was it bad Googling by the reviewer or egregiously incorrect program notes? Who knows!)

Robert Martin performed the Glazunov with the Maryland Symphony Orchestra

  • Herald-Mail: "Martin, at one point, received a standing ovation."

Sayaka Shoji performed Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 with the Spokane Symphony Orchestra

  • The Spokesman-Reviews: "When violinist Sayaka Shoji walked onstage to perform Sergei Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 (1935), she carried a magnificent Stradivarius, the “Recamier” of 1729. Within moments of her raising it to her shoulder and beginning the sad, somber solo melody that opens the piece, it was clear that she was worthy of the instrument. By the conclusion of the piece, the audience was asking whether the instrument was worthy of her."

Gil Shaham performed the Korngold with the Vienna Philharmonic in New York

  • The New York Times: "A ravishing account with Gil Shaham of Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s sumptuous Violin Concerto prompted a playful encore, Kreisler’s “Schön Rosmarin,” played by Mr. Shaham and the orchestra."

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