IVCI Romantic/Post Romantic Finals - day one


In 1775 Mozart wrote all five of his violin concertos at age

19.  The first

two are little more than homages to the "style galant," after Johann Christian

Bach.  The last

three are Mozartean masterpieces, among the finest works the composer had

written by then.  No.

5 in A. K. 219, is

usually regarded as the best of the best, with its strong lyrico/dramatic

structure in the final movement's "Turkish" section.  In fact, it's easily good enough to

tolerate three straight hearings, which it did Wednesday evening by three

different IVCI participants. 

(These three had already chosen their repertoire prior to the

competition from among the five of Mozart and one of Haydn.)

Presented at Uindy's Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center and

featuring for the first time the conductorless East Coast Chamber Orchestra

(ECCO), the concert began with Jennifer Higdon's short piece simply called

"String." The 25 violinists and violists stood (through the entire program),

giving us the cleanest attacks and most precise playing we've heard in any

Classical finals to date. "String" is a delightful, five-minute aperitif

opening with pizzicato, delving into a rapid triple meter then devolving into a

slower duple meter.  It's

clearly contemporary but employs many common chords.

Tessa Lark, the only U.S.

player to make finalist, joined the ECCO strings plus the obligatory pair of

horns and oboes (a "minimum" Classical orchestra) to give us one of the two

best violin sounds

heard from these six in the earlier events.  She used different cadenzas from those usually heard by Joachim--possibly her own?--which is unusual but not unheard of. In both

the F-sharp minor and the "Turkish" sections of the finale, Lark could have shared

more energy--more "hair." 

She did give us much beautiful playing in the sublime Adagio.

Lark was followed by Jinjoo Cho, the first of the five S.

Korean finalists. Though delivering her predictably thinner, more variable

vibrato, she and her ECCO partners gave the work more verve in those two finale

sections--as did the orchestra, for that matter.  Perhaps having already played it once

made a difference . . . or not.

Ji Yoon Lee rounded out the program giving K. 219 a similar shape to that of her preceding

countryman. Both Lee and Cho, playing nearly white (vibratoless), nonetheless

provided moving accounts of the Adagio; all three players deserve an "A" for

that one.  And

the use of the ECCO for this event ought to continue. Sept 18; Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center at Uindy


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