Mendelssohn, Violin Concerto, J. Jansen, Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, R. Chailly (Decca, 2007)
Bruckner, Symphony No. 7, Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, H. Blomstedt (Forte, 2007)
Nikolaj Znaider returned, too, with the Mendelssohn violin concerto for this performance, the piece that he also played on the 2010 tour. The violinist has been a regular guest of the National Symphony Orchestra in recent years, playing the Elgar concerto in 2010, Beethoven in 2007, Bruch in 2005, but this was our first chance to hear him play the Mendelssohn live. He took savagely fast tempi in the outer movements, investing this over-familiar work with some needed sizzle, but with enough poise to give those high E-string flautando notes exceptional accuracy and freedom, with a real showman's touch. Chailly led the musicians in a rhythmically flexible and dynamically sensitive accompaniment, with mahogany-smooth string sound and mellow woodwinds. The second movement was not too slow, with impeccable double-stop technique from Znaider and absolutely whispered pianissimo playing from the orchestra. Znaider's off-string playing in the third movement was also right on the money, fast as a flash but without ever feeling rushed or discombobulated.
Robert Battey, Gewandhaus Orchestra does German canon justice at Kennedy Center (Washington Post, November 6)
Tim Smith, A trip through music history with the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig (Baltimore Sun, November 6)
Marcus Karl Moroney, Majestic, Magnificent Mendelssohn from the Source (ConcertoNet, November 4)
The next visiting ensemble will be Anne-Sophie Mutter and her Mutter Virtuosi (November 23), for which we will back in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, a program that includes a new piece by Sebastian Currier.