News and Views
9:27 am
Sat April 28, 2007

CHRISTOPH ESCHENBACH and JULIA FISCHER: Philadelphia Orchestra

Julia Fischer, young, beautiful, and from Munich, is playing the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra. During Saturday's performance I could not keep Yehudi Menuhin from mind. The program didn't mention him, so the next morning I looked up her website and discovered that in her teens she won two international Menuhin Competitions under the violinist's supervision. The Beethoven concerto was Menuhin's signature piece, and Ms. Fischer's interpretation, while every bit her own, conveys a radiance & purity that recalls the late artist.

ESCHENBACH and JULIA FISCHER: Philadelphia Orchestra

April 28, 2007

Julia Fischer, young, beautiful, and from Munich, is playing the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra. During Saturday's performance I could not keep Yehudi Menuhin from mind. The program didn't mention him, so the next morning I looked up her website and discovered that in her teens she won two international Menuhin Competitions under the violinist's supervision. The Beethoven concerto was Menuhin's signature piece, and Ms. Fischer's interpretation, while every bit her own, conveys a radiance & purity that recalls the late artist.

Julia Fischer was born in 1983. She is one of her generation's leading fiddlers. Her Beethoven is astonishing for its accuracy, its vibrancy; its power. There is never a time that you fear she will lose control technically or musically; her cadenzas are more to do with musical line than virtuosity for virtuosity's sake.?When she performs you get the score not showmanship. The interaction among ensemble, leader, and soloist was gripping. The house gave at least three standing Os. The performances are dedicated to the memory of Rostropovich, a great friend to Philadelphia and this orchestra. Julia Fischer has played here before. One of her chamber music partners is Christoph Eschenbach. She is someone to watch.

To follow the spiritual Beethoven, Eschenbach had chosen Berlioz's brilliant Symphonie fantastique. This is not really his piece, though this is the minority opinion; Verizon Hall was full of bravos for the extrovert reading of an already over the top score. The interpretation felt forced, mannered. It lacked nuance, wanted restraint. Unlike the Beethoven, there was some sloppiness slipping into the Philadelphians' phrase ends. The Adagio, "In the Meadows" came off best; there was a chance to breathe and to hear some gentle phrases as the English horn and offstage oboe tossed out their duet.

(Nice work later on from the clarinet, as there had been good effects from the basses all along. But the maestro pulled out too many stops.)

I'm Lesley Valdes for WRTI.

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