|Quan Yuan, Violin|
Undoubtedly, the best known work and the highlight of the afternoon was the Sibelius Violin Concerto. In 1903 it had a disastrous première, as Jean Sibelius, perpetually broke, had launched it a month ahead of schedule with a soloist who wasn’t up to the job. It would then lay dormant until the 1930s, when Heifetz’s reintroduction left the world marveling forever more. Guest artist Quan Yuan, with impeccable worldwide credentials, played without glitz and without sequins. But absent showmanship, play he did. His opening solo, expectedly cold and bleak, emerged instead with an almost unnerving sweetness, only to evolve seamlessly into the strength and passion necessary to cut through the towering themes of the rest of the concerto.
Mr. Yuan played with confidence, seemingly effortless precision, intelligent phrasing and nonchalant bravura. Every note was absolutely clear, even the ferocious double stops, and during the cadenza it was no surprise to see the orchestra’s string players intensely studying his technique. His was striking musicianship, on par with a cadre of performers we may know better, but among whose ranks he merits being warmly welcomed.
The concertmaster and violin soloist, Quan Yuan , was astonishing, and his solo bow elicited screams.
----the Boston Musical Intelligencer
A tower of strength and musical beauty!
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