Review: Tchaikovsky with the Utah Symphony

Tchaikovsky Concerto with the Utah Symphony and Thierry Fischer

The Salt Lake Tribune

January 9th, 2017

Catherine Reese Newton


Neither the presence of two 20th-century works, nor the pull of a monster-truck rally two blocks to the west, nor the biting cold could keep listeners away from the meat-and-potatoes work on Friday’s program, the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto. Soloist Noah Bendix-Balgley, first concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic, rewarded the large crowd with a dazzling technical display. His bow danced over the strings of his 1732 Carlo Bergonzi violin, seemingly of its own volition. The instrument’s ample tone, combined with Bendix-Balgley’s suave phrasing, made for a winning recipe. A high-flying cadenza and rousing final tutti section drew enthusiastic applause from the crowd as the supersized first movement ended (side note: There is no way Tchaikovsky intended for listeners to sit in silence through that movement break). Bendix-Balgley spun a mesmerizing tale in the second movement, then resumed the virtuoso fireworks in a sizzling finale that was enough to make patrons forget the single-digit temperature outside. But the violinist had one last musical treat to offer, and it proved to be the best of all: a stunning performance of the gavotte from Bach’s solo Partita No. 3.

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