Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor
The high point of the concert was the deep tone and steady bow control of Julian Rachlin and his 1741 Guarnerius del Gesù violin in Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1. Despite a few awkward intervals and intonation issues in the first movement, Rachlin sustained the intensity of this dark work. Rachlin’s mastery was most evident on the last note of the first movement, an extremely high long note, controlled with a dangerously slow bow speed. The soloist occasionally produced a harsh, scratching tone in the aggressive second-movement Scherzo, though in the activity of the moment, this did not take away from the overall journey. The third-movement Passacaglia’s Byzantine ground bass allowed for a sweet solo violin line to gently intertwine with other soaring wind -- bassoon in particular -- and horn counter subjects. After a progression of dissonances, the timpani gently concludes the ground bass. The segue to the final movement evolves into an extended tour-de-force violin cadenza, with the orchestra thrillingly jumping in at the last moment to begin the colorful final movement, Burlesca: Allegro con brio.
Robert Battey, The NSO Under a Young Baton (Washington Post, April 11)
This concert will be repeated on Saturday evening (April 12, 8 pm).