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The Week in Reviews, Op. 70: Christian Tetzlaff, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Leonidas Kavakos in Concert

Robert Niles

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Published: February 17, 2015 at 7:02 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.

Christian Tetzlaff performed the Mendelssohn with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

  • The Sydney Morning Herald: "...violinist Christian Tetzlaff swept onstage to give one of the most gripping, passionate and enthralling performances of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E minor I have heard. With quick speeds and expressive freedom, Tetzlaff reset the tone of this work to dramatically emphasise surging romanticism over classical balance so that the first movement was not so much a lyrical nod to Beethoven, as a windswept flight of soaring eagles around rocky cliffs."
  • Daily Telegraph: "Tetzlaff’s assurance and daring tempos in the first movement combined with a keen sensitivity and subtlety. Rather than a muscular virtuoso, he is more a thoughtful shaper of his material. Technically faultless, there’s a poetic quietness to his playing which was a feature of his handling of the singing andante section."
  • J-Wire: "Playing the most popular of all violin concertos, the Mendelssohn, Tetzlaff was a sound and sight sensation that sent both the audience and orchestra into wild applause when he’d finished.”

Anne-Sophie Mutter
Anja Frers / Deutsche Grammophon

Anne-Sophie Mutter performed the Sibelius with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra.

  • The New York Times: "Her performance of the Sibelius Concerto was superb, as expected. The accuracy and purity of her tone seem only to have grown in recent years, though there never seemed all that much room for growth. What’s more, this comes at a time when she is taking ever greater risks. What was that little Hungarian bend in pitch early on? Her tone always seems animated, even on sustained pitches: growing, receding, responding, it seems, to some spontaneous urge."
  • New York Classical Review: "She has unsurpassed dexterity and articulation. More than a great violinist, though, she is a great artist, a virtuoso thinker about music with enormous expressivity."

Leonidas Kavakos performed the Sibelius with the Berlin Philharmonic.

  • The Guardian: "...played with diabolical fire and crystalline ice..."
  • The Telegraph: "And they also revealed the deep, soft-edged delicacy of Sibelius’s orchestration, above all in the slow movement of the Violin Concerto, played with heroic assurance by Leonidas Kavakos."
  • The Arts Desk: "..outer movements problematic, core lyricism perfect. How Leonidas Kavakos spun that central legato line, hooking us from first to last in the most conventional movement of the evening. He started unatmospherically, though, and never caught the sense of fantasy with which Lisa Batiashvili so bewitched at the Proms (again with Oramo). The last movement’s “dance with polar bears”, as the great musicologist Donald Tovey once put it, was dangerous in the wrong way, and a lovely bit of Bach by way of encore didn’t seem pertinent. It was good that the other players got to listen, but couldn’t they have prepared Sibelius’s delightful Humoresque No. 5 with their soloist? It hardly ever gets an airing in standard programming."

Itzhak Perlman performed Bach's Violin Concerto No. 2 with the Houston Symphony.

  • Houston Press: "Perlman showcased his virtuosity as the world's greatest violinist. And in a lesser known role, but an equally invigorating and entertaining one, he revealed his passion for conducting with a demonstrably visceral style."

Nick Kendall performed “Spontaneous Combustion” by Chris Brubeck with the Midland Symphony Orchestra.

  • Midland Daily News: "Kendall, who took up the violin at age 3 and is the grandson of the man who introduced the Suzuki violin method to the U.S., is both amazingly skilled and a born showman, and clearly can do most anything he wants with his chosen instrument. His encore, “Meditation” from Thais by Jules Massenet, is a gorgeous 5-minute piece that highlighted Kendall’s sensitive interpretive skills."

Janine Jansen performed works by Prokofiev and Ravel, in recital with pianist Itamar Golan.

  • The New York Times: "Ms. Jansen’s readiness to make her sound almost translucent allowed the wonderfully nuanced playing by Mr. Golan to come through unforced. Even difficult-to-balance moments, like the final violin harmonic that floats like a lonely whistle above low piano chords, were rendered with eloquent expression."

Dalia Kuznecovaite performed the Ponce with the State Symphony Orchestra of Mexico.

  • Worcester Telegram & Gazette: "The excellent violin soloist was Dalia Kuznecovaite, who gave a convincing performance, playing with a beautiful tone and admirable technical facility. Her interpretation of the cadenza was a blaze of harmonics, double stops and rhythmic minefields, which she navigated with ease."

Alina Ibragimova performed the Sibelius with the Cleveland Orchestra.

  • The Plain Dealer: "Ibragimova is an intense and serious artist of great technical accomplishment and impressive interpretive abilities. Her no-nonsense demeanor underscored her total immersion in Sibelius' Violin Concerto, which she played with such energy that the composer himself would have been pleased."

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

* * *

In other news, composer John McCabe has died at age 75.

  • The Guardian: "The gifted English composer and pianist John McCabe, who has died aged 75, was a remarkably rounded musician who was responsible for more than 200 compositions and pursued a busy solo career over several decades."

You might also like:

From Paul Deck
Posted on February 17, 2015 at 10:19 PM
I have John McCabe's boxed set of the piano works of Haydn, and it's absolutely superb.
Posted on February 18, 2015 at 12:25 AM
I once did a concert with John McCabe and he was the most perfect and complete musician I have ever met as well as being the most perfect and complete gentleman. Even when he, the piano stool and possibly the piano was in danger of being floated off into the middle distance by the combination of a thunder storm and a leaking window. R.I.P John.
Posted on February 18, 2015 at 1:16 AM
I envy her waist. I wonder if it is photoshopped?
From Paul Deck
Posted on February 18, 2015 at 3:22 PM
You can have her waist. I'll take her talent.
From Vicky Jenson
Posted on February 18, 2015 at 9:08 PM
"Dylana Jenson, 53, rarely appears as a soloist these days and the obvious question, based on Saturday’s spellbinding performance, is 'why?' She plumbed the dark mysteries of the opening [Shotsakovich] Nocturne and then tore into the remaining sections, which stretch any violinist’s technical capability to the limit, with almost demonic fury." - Robert D. Thomas, freelance music writer.

WHY? Because vital reviewers like did not consider reviewing this "rare and spellbinding" artist. While the classical music world is more and more proving itself to be just as ageist, vain and shallow as the rest of the "entertainment" industry by only looking for the next over-emoting, fashionista, fiddle-fondling kitten, actually does promote violinists of all genders and ages. BUT not if they perform with the Pasadena Symphony Orchestra because there is apparently bad blood between and the management of the PSO. By playing politics does its followers and its name a huge disservice by not giving voice and visibility to one of the world's greatest living violinists.
Vicky Jenson

From Robert Niles
Posted on February 19, 2015 at 2:39 AM
We did not find any reviews of Dylana's concert posted online early Tuesday morning when we put together the Week in Reviews. However, the Pasadena newspaper posted one later that day —

Dylana Jenson performs the Shostakovich with the Pasadena Symphony.

FWIW, I believe that's record in supporting and covering a diverse range of violin professionals of all ages and backgrounds, from around the world, speaks for itself.

From Paul Deck
Posted on February 20, 2015 at 4:01 PM
I agree with you Robert. In fact, even when people have posted their own reviews in the Members' Blogs section of this web site, they've been picked up in your weekly roundup. And I think you've made it clear that you would be glad to learn about a published review that might have appeared in our local papers, etc. No Google search will ever be perfect. Keep up the good work.

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