The Strad Magazine September 2012
Review of Noah’s “Voyage Musical” CD
An enjoyable collection of short 20th-century pieces
Concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, 28-year-old US violinist Noah Bendix-Balgley here offers a thoughtfully chosen selection of short 20th-century works, all written between the First World War and 1950. He opens with a stylish and technically fastidious performance of Stravinsky’s Suite Italienne. His feather-light dash through the Tarantella is particularly lovely, underpinned by the blissfully delicate phrasing of pianist Reiko Hozu. His rich, full-bodied tone brings a heady intensity to the fiendishly difficult double-stopped melodies of the Minuetto and Finale.
This intensity is also apparent in his passionate reading of Bloch’s Nigun, and Hindemith’s unaccompanied Violin Sonata is beautifully shaped. The playful third-movement pizzicato trips along in dazzling style, and here the bright tone of the recording adds impressive colour and depth to the whole. It is a shame, then, that booming distortion surfaces briefly in the fourth movement, in a moment of gritty G-string rumbling-elsewhere, the recorded sound is well judged.
Schoenberg’s Phantasy bursts with character and ProkofievsFive Melodies are elegant and impassioned. The sumptuous pyrotechnics and romancing of Ravel’s Tzigane make a suitably upbeat finale to this enjoyable disc of shortish pieces, which makes me keen to hear Bendix-Balgley tackled something grander in scale.
Catherine Nelson, September 2012