Thursday, January 14, 2010
Arabella Steinbacher (pictured, right), who was scheduled to play the Dvorak Violin Concerto announced below, won't be playing with the Vancouver Symphony Jan. 16-18 because she suddenly became ill.
Instead, it'll be Jennifer Koh, a New York violinist who played in Vancouver about a year ago.
She's very good too, and known for taking a sort of post-modern approach to violin repertory. That is, she places music -- often very contemporary music -- in a context that typically goes back to J.S. Bach, the touchstone.
Koh will be playing the Dvorak concerto as well.
But don't overlook Steinbacher, who is an amazingly gifted young musician. I can't recommend her new CD strongly enough, on Pentatone Classics, where she plays the Dvorak, his F Minor Romance, and notably Karol Szymanowski's First Violin Concerto. This is a masterpiece all but unknown outside of Poland. Tremendously sensuous, with a free-form structure, and tremendously difficult to play. I haven't heard a more persuasive argument for it. It deserves to be a Western classic.