Tonight’s performance was the perfect season opener. On the program were Sibelius’s Finlandia, Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, and Beethoven’s 7th Symphony. What a rich line-up; the heavy brass of Finlandia juxtaposed with the feathery strings of Tchaikovsky, finishing with Beethoven’s unsurpassed Symphony in A- an impressive concert indeed.
Giora Schmidt, a very young and very accomplished musician, was tonight’s soloist. The Violin Concerto in D by Tchaikovsky is one of the most often played violin concertos, thereby making it one of the most difficult to execute- the performer must find a way to make his version stand out without taking away from the composer’s ideas. Mr. Schmidt did just that. His performance was full of voice and life, lacking in flaws. During the cadenza he played a game with the audience, teasing us with his phrasing and delighting us with his mischievousness. At the end of the first movement he received a standing ovation (normally applause is contained until the end of the piece) to which he responded, “Does this mean I can go home?” Oh how the audience roared with laughter. The following two movements and his encore were spectacular, nothing less, and a real treat after a long summer without music.
As for the Beethoven, the harmonies during the fourth movement were fantastic, strong and deep in the brass with the strings holding a solid bass. Nevertheless, as a whole the orchestra seems to hesitate rather than blend. This, with the overall coarseness of the players, weakens their musical integrity; however, they play in tune, and they play well. Hopefully with time they will fine tune any set backs and command a larger audience.