Classical Review: Beethoven’s Violin Concerto

Beethoven’s Violin Concerto Jerusalem Theater April 1.

Glasses sheet music 311 (photo credit: MCT)
Glasses sheet music 311
(photo credit: MCT)
Two classic often-heard works in one program of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra may be justifiable if the performance is so outstanding that it provides a new experience as though we were hearing them for the first time.
That was indeed what happened with Julian Rachlin’s rendition of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto. His approach to this well-known work was entirely fresh, with nothing routine about it – novel without any attempt at being artificially or deliberately ordinal, and thus thoroughly enchanting. For instance, in the slow movement, Rachlin intensely expressed its lyrical spirit; and in the concluding fast movement he allowed Beethoven’s rare case of exuberant humor to have full reign. The cadenzas were delivered with brilliant virtuosity.
In Mozart’s Symphony No. 29, on the other hand, Rachlin appeared to be one of those numerous ambitious instrumentalists who, at all costs, want to prove that they are excellent conductors as well. In this respect, Rachlin proved to be his own stiffest competitor.
Although as a conductor he displayed authoritative command of the orchestra and incisive articulation, what he achieved was nothing more than a fairly enjoyable standard rendition of the symphony. In particular, he seemed blissfully unaware of the fact that Mozart, inter alia also an opera composer, injected dramatic elements into his symphonies, too.