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The Week in Reviews, Op. 29: Nicola Benedetti, Gil Shaham, Stefan Jackiw in concert

Robert Niles

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Published: April 29, 2014 at 8:14 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.

Nicola Benedetti performed Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5 with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra

  • The Scotsman: "With a tone that was clean and focused, and spiritedly supported by the responsive SCO, Benedetti captured (Mozart Concerto No. 5's) multi-flavoured ambivalence: on the one hand, its rich golden lyricism; on the other, its raunchy exuberance."
  • Daily Record: "Audiences are barely able to keep track of her fingers and virtuosic agility, which moves notes forward faster than many of us are able to take them in."
  • Herald Scotland: "…she dispatched (Mozart's 5th) with grace, balance, wit, sophistication, and a measure of fun in the Turkish March clatter of the finale. A good show."

Gil ShahamGil Shaham performed the Bartok with the Los Angeles Philharmonic

  • Los Angeles Times: "Shaham had recorded the Bartók about 15 years ago…but the Disney Hall performance was that of a changed man…there was a sense of playfulness now in Shaham’s Bartók that wasn’t there before, shedding just the right bit of polished sheen in his tone at appropriate moments, reveling in the sound of surprise with bursts of power and the quietest of pianissimos."
  • Orange County Register: "And though no one could fault him on the razzle-dazzle aspect of his performance – his virtuosity was incredible; and he was smiling broadly much of the time, as if it were all easy – there was a sense, more often than one could ignore, that he was skating over the surface of this music, tossing it off, reading it through."

Stefan Jackiw performed the Bruch with the Alabama Symphony

  • The Birmingham News: "Jackiw is a soloist's soloist, at times expressing his individuality by stepping slightly away from the orchestra's rhythmic boundaries, at other times soaring above them with vibrant flourishes and gripping intensity."

Alexander Velinzon performed the Brahms with the Seattle Symphony

  • Seattle Times: "Velinzon’s Brahms was expansive and unhurried, his tone moderately sized and flexible, and his technique well able to handle the concerto’s demands."

In other violin news, Tasmin Little will perform for the 20th time in the BBC Proms this summer, for which the 2014 schedule was just announced

  • The Independent: "...on 25 July (Tasmin Little) will reach this landmark, one of only a handful of artists ever to do so, not with a crowd-pleasing Brahms or Bruch concerto, but with the relatively unknown violin concerto by E J Moeran...'The concerto is a fabulous piece,' says Little. 'It’s very liquid, very Irish and pastoral and the middle movement is the whizz-bang.'"

We'd love to hear about any recent concerts and recitals you've attended, too. Or just tell us in the comments what you think about these reviews!

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