Avery Fisher Hall at
Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61 (1806) by Beethoven (1770-1827).
Le Sacre du printemps (1911-13) by Stravinsky (1882-1971).
Our seats were towards the right side of the orchestra section, so the view of the soloist and the orchestra wasn’t great. However, the acoustics were great, one could hear the instrumentalists very well.
We heard Pinchas Zuckerman in
Most violin players I know love the Beethoven concerto. I remember in graduate school playing a David Oistrakh recording over and over again. It is interesting how Beethoven could string together a great sounding, musically challenging, and symphony-like concerto with a lot of scales and arpeggios. A good argument for doing your exercises.
Naturally Zuckerman played brilliantly. He tackled the most difficult pieces with ease, the dynamics were excellent, the give-and-take with the orchestra was good. The cadenzas were remarkable. Sometimes he would play along the orchestra violin parts, and it was interesting (and challenging) to pick out his violin from the other 10 or so that were playing the same tune. Every now and then, especially in the higher registers, there seemed to be problems with intonation; or have my ears deserted me? His violin sounded good, but didn’t seem to have the same smoothness one gets from a Stradivarius. (I researched a bit but couldn’t find out what violin Zuckerman plays.)
All in all a very enjoyable performance, even measured against the Oistrakh standard. The sold-out concert audience was also quite appreciative.
I am actually not as familiar with The Rite of Spring – particularly the second part – as I thought. This piece, rightly or wrongly, is defined by the introductory bassoon passage, which was played well, although not quite in the way most people play it. The composition caused a riot when it was premiered in
There seemed to be some hesitation on the orchestra’s part towards the end where I expected entrances with convictions. Perhaps that’s due to my lack of understanding of the music, or was it the way Mehta conducted?