Julia Fischer plays Sibelius,
appreciated by LAWRENCE BUDMEN
Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) was the musical voice of Finland. One of music's most strikingly original creative personalities, the young Sibelius was strongly drawn to the emotionally heated scores of Tchaikovsky and composers of the nineteenth century Romantic tradition. The bracing dissonance and austere modernism of his mature scores broke new compositional ground. Only Denmark's Carl Nielsen (1865-1931) possessed a similar strain of musical nationalism. These were singular musical voices. The melodic richness and astringent angularity of Sibelius's muse are in full bloom in his Violin Concerto in D minor Op 47 (1905). A complex, technically demanding virtuoso vehicle, the concerto requires a soloist with a Paganini-like command of pyrotechnics, burning musical intensity, and artistic integrity. The young German violinist Julia Fischer has those attributes and more. Her powerful performance of this Sibelius masterwork formed the centerpiece of an outstanding concert by the Dresden Philharmonic under Principal Conductor Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos on 21 November 2004 at the Jackie Gleason Theater in Miami Beach, Florida, USA, presented by the Concert Association of Florida.
Julia Fischer was the First Prize winner of the 1995 International Yehudi Menuhin Violin Competition and the 1996 Eurovision Competition for Young Instrumentalists. She is a protégé of the distinguished conductor Kurt Masur (who is Honorary Conductor of the Dresden ensemble). Her technique is simply awesome! Her commanding musicality and tonal coloration are impressively displayed on her 1716 Stradivarius -- the Gold Standard.
The unique musical language of the Sibelius concerto is without parallel in the violin-orchestral literature. Fischer and the Dresden orchestra played the score with an idiomatic affinity and visceral immediacy that were stunning! Fischer's intense attack and dazzling technique were fully equal to the stormy drama of the opening Allegro moderato. Her rhapsodic treatment and expressive phrasing of the richly textured harmonics in the movement's second theme were exciting. In the Adagio molto Fischer unleashed a glowing tone and simmering, passionately explosive intensity that made every musical bar a riveting experience! With the sensitive collaboration of Frühbeck de Burgos and the Dresden players, Fischer subtly projected the music's iridescent glow! Her taut, strongly projected approach to the Allegro, ma non tanto finale produced a cascade of virtuosic razzle dazzle that was always wedded to a sophisticated conception of the score's grand, arching line. An explosive performance of a twentieth century violinistic monument!
Copyright © 13 December 2004
Lawrence Budmen, Miami Beach, USA