Karol Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto No. 1, which featured soloist Lisa Batiashvili, provided the highlight of the evening.Boston Classical Review
“Karol Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto No. 1, which featured soloist Lisa Batiashvili, provided the highlight of the evening.
The concerto is marked more for its sensitivity than for blazing technique, and Batiashvili conveyed all the work’s surging lyricism with both intimacy and exuberance.
The Georgian-born violinist played with a colorful tone that evolved smoothly from silvery to amber shades. Her technique was flawless. High notes were shaped with just enough vibrato to give her long, singing lines palpable momentum in the first movement. The quick passages of the second movement and the final cadenza unspooled into triple and quadruple stops, which Batiashvili played with passion and fierce concentration.”
“With Georgian-born German violinist Lisa Batiashvili glimmering at center stage, the BSO’s rosy rendering leaned into the divine and picturesque. Amid a whirl of twittering winds, Batiashvili’s violin made its entrance, sylphlike. Zooming through double stops and materializing distinct themes out of the freewheeling, atmospheric euphoria, her phrases were seamless without sentimentality. The timbres and attacks she lent to the cadenza were more pointed than in the rest of the piece; the line seemed to rail in desperation, as if grasping for a lost memory.”
“Thursday’s reading was, perhaps, more dreamy than exotic or mysterious. But, given the velvety tone and sumptuous command that Lisa Batiashvili brought to the solo part, that was just fine. Hers was a benchmark performance: note perfect, cleanly articulated, vigorously rendered, and fired with passion. Catch it if you can.
“During Batiashvili’s performance, only when the opening, yearning theme returns at the very end of the concerto did the listeners breathe a sigh of relief, exhausted from the journey into the stratosphere (literally and metaphorically) on which Szymanowski and Batiashvili brought us. The journey upwards is literal in the sense that Szymanowski explores the uppermost ranges of the violin in a way that composers before him had never done, and Batiashvili played these notes with a graceful, sonorous, and projective tone that seemed nearly impossible to achieve – any slight change in bow pressure or speed and that perfect sound would have been lost. Metaphorically, the terrain covered in 25 minutes was just so varied – in terms of rhythm, harmony, timbre, technique, and tempo – that the listener was able to travel far beyond the soundscapes created by more traditional violin concertos. Sometimes the inhospitality of contemporary pieces prevents listeners from entering new soundworlds despite being bombarded with novel sounds. However, Batiashvili’s interpretation of the Szymanowski always carried listeners along with her so that they were not lost. She never rushed phrases, and she was particularly adept at building suspense through long notes by refraining from vibrating the note until the latest possible moment.”