To celebrate composer Menahem Zur’s 70th birthday, his Violin Concerto (1978)
was performed by his son Yonah Zur with the Jerusalem Symphony
Conducted by Frederic Chaslin on the eve of his 50th birthday,
the concert was presented, as a matter of course, in the series entitled
Beethoven Cycle. Why? Because! No relationship between Zur and Beethoven was
indicated, neither in the program notes nor in the work itself.
concerto’s solo part proceeds quite independently of the orchestra which
functions frequently as a partner that has a say of its own. Abundant orchestral
tone colors engage sometimes in responsorial, occasionally contrasting,
attention-capturing dialogue with each other. Forceful energies are finally
appeased by a relaxing calm that soothes the preceding turbulence as a peaceful
For soloist Yonah Zur this performance was obviously a labor
of love. He displayed discernible involvement, and overcame the work’s
formidable technical demands with remarkable virtuosic skill.
drive, temperament and tension in Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.
impressive and well-rehearsed, including an appealing flute solo in the first
movement. The opening Symphony No. 2, on the other hand, was rushed
through hastily and indifferently, with many swallowed intermediate notes and
without due attention to significant details.