Israel Festival:Violin and Piano Recital YMCA, May 30

After a polite tribute to his host country, Ben-Haim’s Solo Violin Sonata, Livonen presented remarkable renditions of Debussy’s and Prokofiev’s violin sonatas

By URY EPPSTEIN
June 1, 2015 20:46
1 minute read.
Violin player

Violin player (illustrative photo). (photo credit: INGIMAGE)

 
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Despite the solemn declarations of the Israel Festival’s new management that it was going modern, the program of the festival’s first classical music event was quite conventional.

Except for Finnish composer Aulis Sallinen’s Cadenza for Solo Violin, Petteri Iivonen and Ron Regev’s violin and piano recital included familiar composers such as Debussy, Sarasate, Bazzini, Prokofiev and Ben-Haim.

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It was a privilege, though, to get to know Iivonen, an outstanding Finnish violinist still unknown on these shores. The strongest impression he made derived from his subtlest nuances of dynamics, ranging from an almost inaudible, soft pianissimo to a caressing piano, through unbelievably delicate shadings in between.

This was also the most significant characteristic of Sallinen’s Cadenza, a modern Finnish work fundamentally different from the European mainstream and its isms, just because of its lyrical, introverted quality.

After a polite tribute to his host country, Ben-Haim’s Solo Violin Sonata, Livonen presented remarkable renditions of Debussy’s and Prokofiev’s violin sonatas. In the latter he highlighted the contrast between the beginning’s calm runs and the following temperamental outbursts. Sarasate’s Gypsy Airs and Bazzini’s Ronde des Lutins then provided him with an opportunity for dazzling virtuosity.

Ron Regev was a full-fledged, attentive partner in the Debussy and Prokofiev sonatas.

Despite the festival’s proclaimed goal of attracting foreign tourists, the unprofessionally edited program notes

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