Violin Concerto in D, Op.35
Symphony No.9 in E minor, Op.95 (From the New World)
Lisa Batiashvili (violin)
New York Philharmonic
Reviewed by: David M. Rice
Reviewed: 22 September, 2016
Venue: David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center, New York City
Lisa Batiashvili was artist-in-residence with the New York Philharmonic during the 2014-15 Season. Her return cued an impassioned account of Tchaikovsky, the 1739 Guarneri ‘del Gesù’ singing out sweetly in lyrical passages, yet powerfully holding its own when the accompaniment was at its most forceful. For the most part, however, Alan Gilbert kept the orchestra under restraint as a source of effective counterpoint to Batiashvili, who was terrific throughout, and especially brilliant in the first-movement cadenza. She evoked a tender delicacy in the gorgeous ‘Canzonetta’, to a gentle complement, and she threw herself with abandon into the Finale.
Dvořák’s ‘New World’ Symphony was given a stirring outing, using the 1989 Breitkopf & Härtel edition based in part on the original parts used by the Philharmonic (if not then by that name) for the New York world premiere in 1893. Gilbert was a bundle of energy, and lush strings, agile woodwinds, resonant horns and brass, and outstanding contributions from timpanist Markus Rhoten – sounded marvelous in the challenging environment of David Geffen Hall.
Lovely violas and cellos opened the introductory Adagio. After the Allegro began (with jarring timpani strokes and its stirring horn theme) Gilbert often opted for a generous projection, which came off very well, as did the contrasting dance-like second subject on flute and oboe. In the famous Largo, Grace Shryock gave an admirable rendition of the English horn (cor anglais) theme, later played tenderly by muted strings. The Scherzo, fast and loud, bristled with energy and wit, and the Finale featured terrific offerings by Philip Myers on horn, Matthew Muckey trumpet and Anthony McGill clarinet.