Violin Concerto in D, Op.35
Symphony No.2 in E minor, Op.27
Ilya Gringolts (violin)
West Australian Symphony Orchestra
Reviewed by: William Yeoman
Reviewed: 17 March, 2007
Venue: Perth Concert Hall, Western Australia
Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto and Rachmaninov’s Second Symphony in the same programme could quite easily comprise a schmaltzfest of the highest order. But not here. In the Tchaikovsky, it was soloist-as-medium, with Gringolts’s elegance of phrase and utterly insinuating tonal sheen allowing the composer to speak with unabashed eloquence. The first-movement cadenza, so poised, so lyrical was surely worth the price of the tickets alone.
As an encore, Gringolts delivered a compellingly spectral rendering of one of Paganini’s caprices, again eschewing showmanship while nevertheless revealing his astonishing control and impeccable taste.
One of the features of the Tchaikovsky was the magic Caetani worked with the WASO strings; this was even more apparent in the Rachmaninov, where the richness of the string-writing was brought out to perfection. Around this dark-hued censer, a sometimes delicate, sometimes pungent perfume of brass, woodwind and percussion swirled, Caetani’s understated manner unleashing a heady brew of Romanticism sans sentiment. And here, as in the Tchaikovsky, the orchestra really delivered, with some impressive contributions from principals and a refulgent corporate sound that enraptured a capacity audience through the 60-plus minutes of the symphony’s duration – no mean feat.