Symphony No.38 in D, K504 (Prague)
Violin Concerto in B minor, Op.61
Nikolaj Znaider (violin)
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Sir Colin Davis
Reviewed by: Susan Stempleski
Reviewed: 14 January, 2010
Venue: Boston Symphony Hall
Perhaps because of its length (about 50-55 minutes) Elgar’s grandly-scaled violin concerto is not often programmed. Prior to this concert, the Boston Symphony Orchestra had given a total of four performances, the last in 1984 under Seiji Ozawa and featuring former concertmaster Joseph Silverstein as soloist.Making his Boston Symphony Orchestra debut in this performance, Nikolaj Znaider appeared extraordinarily calm and confident as he delivered a captivating account of this great Romantic piece, one of Elgar’s longest orchestral works.
From the unforgettable violin entrance in the opening Allegro through the glorious finale, Znaider delivered a technically flawless, deeply committed performance, marked by great poise and wonderful sweetness of tone. His virtuosic playing rose to its greatest heights in his impassioned account of the expansive yet intimate slow movement. But there was plenty of marvelous playing in the first movement too. The most thrilling moments of the finale were in the heartfelt rendition of the long accompanied cadenza, with its muted, magical ‘thrumming’ in the orchestral strings. Znaider’s unusually high level of concentration and beautifully commanding playing, along with Colin Davis’s warm and understanding conducting, made this performance a compelling and moving experience.
Before intermission, Davis gave an alert and perceptive reading of Mozart’s ‘Prague’ Symphony, played with fine spontaneity and polish by the BSO musicians.
- Concert also played on January 15, 16 & 19
- Boston Symphony Orchestra