Jan. 30th, 2015
The symphony’s concertmaster Noah Bendix-Balgley was the soloist in Aram Khachaturian’s 1940 Violin Concerto. Although too long for what it has to say, the concerto is filled with the attractive spirit of folk song and dance.
Bendix-Balgley responded with equal alacrity to the various personalities within the music. His virtuosity, particularly his bowing, is irresistible, but the heart that lifts his lyricism is treasurable.
Urbanski brought many strengths to his accompaniment, including considerate dynamics, but closer attention to the soloist would have been helpful.
Bendix-Balgley’s encore was the third movement of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Sonata No. 1 for unaccompanied violin. He performed it with disarming simplicity and directness.
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January 31st, 2015
….In Khachaturian’s Violin Concerto, it was concertmaster Noah Bendix-Balgley’s turn.
Mr. Bendix-Balgley, who is also first concertmaster in the Berlin Philharmonic, is dividing his time between Pittsburgh and Berlin this season.
Mr. Bendix-Balgley has a superlative sense of musical timbre….. the second movement seemed to focus his performance: Every color was deliberate, with each entrance and phrase an opportunity for surprise; that lyricism carried into the finale. He used the cadenza by David Oistrakh, for whom the concerto was written.
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