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The rich, dark sound of Gluzman's violin (a 1609 Stradivarius once owned by the legendary Russian violinist and teacher Leopold Auer) conjured up the world of Tchaikovsky and the Russian violinistic tradition. Gluzman is the contemporary embodiment of that great Russian school of violin virtuosos that runs from Misha Elman and Jascha Heifetz through Gluzman's contemporaries Maxim Vengerov and Vadim Repin. His blistering performance of Ravel's showpiece received a standing, cheering ovation. And what a performance! (While Tzigane is a Frenchman's impression of Gypsy fiddlers, it remains the work of a master craftsman. Mastery was what Gluzman's rendition was all about.) Gluzman's technique is a given -- his virtuosity is awesome! His violin ignited a Gypsy flame beneath the music. Gluzman did not give a dutiful performance of the notes. His Tzigane glowed with the inner fire of creative inspiration. Violinist and music became one -- a transcendent artistic moment! (As an encore, Gluzman offered Fritz Kreisler's more refined Viennese version of Gypsy music La Gitana. Gluzman played this bon-bon with flair and style. Sentiment without bathos -- exactly the way Kreisler himself played this music.)

Beethoven's Sonata in A for Violin and Piano Op 47 (Kreutzer) is the Mount Olympus of violin-piano works. Here Beethoven reinvents the violin sonata in a manner that has the grandeur and stature of a symphony. Gluzman brought fierce, sinewy accents and brusque, hard driving propulsion to the opening Adagio Sostenuto-Presto. Yet he phrased the songful second theme with classical nobility. (Gluzman did not attempt to prettify the music. This was not a Beethoven performance for the faint of heart.) The violinist displayed tremendous musical imagination and insight in the Andante con Variazioni (second movement). He brought incendiary ferocity to the concluding Presto. Here was a musician who was not afraid to take artistic risks. Gluzman is an artist of taste, discernment, and dynamic creativity. He was aided by the powerful, rhythmically throbbing collaboration of pianist Jonathan Feldman, who beautifully dovetailed Gluzman's phrasing. Gluzman and Feldman revealed Beethoven the Titan! Musicianship at an exalted level!

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Copyright © 6 May 2004 Lawrence Budmen, Miami Beach, USA


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