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The Week in Reviews, Op. 24: Yevgeny Kutik, Tasmin Little, Alina Ibragimova in concert

Robert Niles

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Published: March 25, 2014 at 9:11 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!

Yevgeny Kutik performed the Sibelius with the Greenville Symphony Orchestra

Gil Shaham performed the Korngold with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra

  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "Shaham, a longtime proponent of the concerto, knows this music in his bones; he brought immense expression to his playing, particularly in the first two movements, from the opening notes through the sweetly melancholic Romance."

Tasmin Little performed the Ligeti with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra

  • The Scotsman: "…with soloist Tasmin Little, in Ligeti’s translucent Violin Concerto, (conductor Rossen Gergov's) sensitive control of its beguiling textures – the eerie wailing of the ocarinas, or the unnerving string clusters that surround the solo violin like an intricate gossamer web – was needle-sharp and compelling, backed up by Little’s immaculate, filigree interpretation."
  • The Herald: "...a mesmerising performance from the great Tasmin Little of Ligeti's tough and challenging Violin Concerto, whose rustling, buzzing and swarming pages bemused and baffled many listeners (who made a point of telling me); I enjoyed it, and thrilled at the moments of raw, naked Hungarian folk music that periodically poked through the busy texture."

Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg's New Century Chamber Orchestra and the men's chorus Chanticleer gave a performance called "Atlantic Crossing" in San Francisco.

  • San Francisco Chronicle: "NCCO, led by Artistic Director Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, offered an engaging tour through the music of some of the European composers whose emigration helped to enliven the midcentury world of American music."

Daniel S. Lee performed the Biber Mystery Sonatas in New York

  • The New York Times: "The violinist Daniel S. Lee offered a fleet-fingered, passionate interpretation of (Biber's Sonata No. 10 “The Crucifixion,”)….as part of Tenet’s TENEbrae series commemorating Lent."

Pinchas Zukerman performed the Brahms with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in New York

  • The New York Times: " would take a mind reader to account for why the performance in the first half of Brahms’s Concerto for Violin and Cello in A minor was so ineffective."

Liza Ferschtman performed the Dvorák? with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales

  • The Guardian: " was in the finale, with its Bohemian dances, that Ferschtman's vivacious musical personality emerged most forcefully."
  • South Wales Argus: "In the marvelously persuasive hands of the brilliant young Dutch violinist Liza Ferschtman (the Dvorák? concerto) could not have wished for a more convincing endorsement - passionate and totally committed."

Alina Ibragimova performed the Schumann with the London Symphony Orchestra

  • The Independent: "That things did not catch fire was due to the work, not the performers: the violin never released Schumann’s genius as the piano did, and this piece – redolent of very early Brahms – showed the embers of his creativity dying in the grate."
  • The Guardian: "…the whole work could hardly have had a more persuasive advocate. Ibragimova was in eloquent command of the music, playing with sumptuous tone, and catching the optimum balance of gravitas and grace."
  • Portsmouth News: "Russian-born soloist Alina Ibragimova made (Schumann’s late and seldom-played Violin Concerto) not only sing and dance but smile delightfully, both in the opening movement’s long-breathed second melody and in the haunting slow movement. And her fireworks elsewhere were dazzlingly articulate."

Joshua Bell performed Bach's Violin Concerto No. 2 with Academy of St. Martin in the Fields

  • Santa Barbara Independent: "Friday’s performance from the British superstar chamber orchestra, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, under the direction of American violinist Joshua Bell, will certainly be remembered as one of the top classical music events of the year."
  • Las Vegas Review-Journal: "A little less than a year ago, the Academy scored a major achievement: It convinced renowned American violinist Joshua Bell to become its music director and principal soloist. The match is perfect, as a packed house at The Smith Center’s Reynolds Hall learned Tuesday."

Jack Liebeck performed the Prokofiev with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra

  • The Guardian: "Jack Liebeck was the soloist in a performance of Prokofiev's First Violin Concerto that sounded like neither he nor the orchestra had spent much time with the piece."
  • The Scotsman: "Young British violinist Jack Liebeck was just as nuanced in a brittle yet passionate account of Prokofiev’s First Violin Concerto – his second-movement pizzicatos ricocheted like gunshots, and he soared to the stratospheric heights that close the outer movements with touching charm."

Baiba Skride performed the Mendelssohn with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

  • Baltimore Sun: "Her colorful, often muscular tone effectively underlined the tensile qualities in the score, without slighting the sweeter side. The violinist's technical assurance proved impressive as well, particularly in the sprightly finale."

Eric Wyrick performed the Strauss with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra

  • "(Concertmaster) Eric Wyrick scored a resounding success with his performance, which his colleagues warmly applauded."

Ray Chen performed Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

  • The Sydney Morning-Herald: "the reading offered by Ray Chen of Shostakovich's large-limbed Violin Concerto No.1 succeeded in drawing the listener along in its often spiky wake, becoming more compelling as the score progressed."
  • Limelight Magazine: "A consummate performer, he displayed brilliant artistic and technical control in his exploration of this intensely emotional work."

* * *


Congratulations to British violinist and pedagogue Simon Fischer, who has been given the 2014 European String Teachers Association award "in celebration of a lifetime contribution to string teaching." Simon will received the award at the European String Teachers Association Annual General Meeting on May 18.

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