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Concert Review: Nitzan Bartana - violin
She tossed off Violin Concerto No. 2 with brilliant virtuosity, ease and nonchalance.
Nitzan Bartana -violin
Kerry Startton - conductor
Jerusalem Theater
April 15

What came as a surprise at the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra’s concert last week was not so much its rather standard program, but 21-year-old Nitzan Bartana’s rendition of Paganini’s Violin Concerto No. 2.

She tossed off this enormously demanding work with brilliant virtuosity, ease and nonchalance, overcoming the formidable technical hurdles effortlessly, as a matter of course. Her intonation was impeccably pure, her articulation incisive and
significant. Melodious themes were well-shaped, with an appealing songful sound. Even for many mature celebrity violinists this technically difficult work is a formidable challenge. Paganini might have been pleased.

Something of a surprise was also Canadian conductor Kerry Startton, till now unknown on these shores. In Rossini’s Silk Ladder Overture, and then in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2, he struck a brisk, invigorating tempo, fast but not over-hurried, with no swallowed notes despite the speed. Into Beethoven’s often-heard symphony he injected refreshing energies, overcoming the contempt that could have been bred by the work’s familiarity.
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