Classical Review: Conductor-Violinist Nikolaj Znajder

Conductor-violinist Nikolaj Znajder displayed an enchanting, pure sound on the violin.

By URY EPPSTEIN
March 26, 2012 21:54
Violinist Vadim Gluzman

Violinist 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

With its solo work at its beginning – Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 4 – and Brahms’ Tragic Overture at its center, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s program for last week’s concert seemed to be limping on two left feet.

Conductor-violinist Nikolaj Znajder displayed an enchanting, pure sound on the violin. In the concerto’s slow movement he made the violin sing an aria with the same full melodiousness that Mozart developed later in his operas.

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The final movement conveyed the lightheartedness of the young Mozart in an exuberant mood.

Elgar’s Enigma Variations sounded appropriately enigmatic. They also sounded more thoroughly rehearsed than the Tragic Overture, that made, in conductor Znajder’s brisk tempi and short cut rests, a jolly rather than tragic impression.

In the Variations, on the other hand, tempi were slower, and consequently were granted their full weight. Finely differentiated dynamic nuances, abundant instrumental tone colors, and significantly emphasized contrasts between the variations were enormously appealing. At the end, the final Variation was reminiscent of the same composer’s Pomp and Circumstance more than of the “Enigma” theme.


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