Music Review: Delmoni plays Beethoven ConcertoBy Jim Lowe
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Beethoven’s Violin Concerto is THE violin concerto, perhaps not the most difficult technically, but the most daunting in terms of musical depth and its legacy of performances by the greatest violinists in history.
On Sunday, violinist Arturo Delmoni, a frequent performer at Montpelier’s Capital City Concerts and at Randolph’s Central Vermont Chamber Music Festival, proved himself an artist of distinction in this major masterpiece. The performance was part of an all-Beethoven concert by the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston, led by Music Director Kevin Rhodes, at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre.
Delmoni, one of this country’s finest violinists, spends three months each year as concertmaster of the New York City Ballet orchestra, and the remainder of the year concertizing as recitalist and soloist. After many performances in Randolph and Montpelier, he has become one of central Vermont’s favorite fiddlers.
The Violin Concerto in D Major, Opus 61, is not typical of Beethoven. A very classical work, it forgoes the composer’s typical tempestuousness for a beautiful, reserved lyricism that builds to real grandeur. That’s not to say that there is no excitement; the finale takes off with plenty of passion, but nevertheless retains its classical elegance.
The orchestra has most of the melody while the solo violin weaves in and out with scales, arpeggios and beautifully expressive phrases. To integrate the violin solo with the orchestra cohesively, and deliver its restrained passion, is a challenge to any violinist, and Delmoni achieved with aplomb.
Delmoni successfully delivered a very personal performance that also reflected a reverence for the music. After a somewhat tenuous beginning, Delmoni and his Guadagnini violin were singing with his unique, rich, expressive sound. His approach was intimate rather than flamboyant, as he delivered Beethoven’s poetic lines.
The only bombast was in Delmoni’s virtuosic delivery of the first cadenza, by the Russian violinist Nathan Milstein, that closed the opening first movement, Allegro ma non troppo.
In the slow movement, Larghetto, Delmoni played with warm lyricism and tenderness. His playing, at points, was breathtakingly beautiful.
The finale, a rondo followed by an allegro, is a joyful affair, and Delmoni’s performance was certainly spirited. He delivered the driving arpeggios with grace and flair and the lyrical passages with great expressiveness — and yet there was always an irresistible intimacy to his playing. It was exciting, as well as beautiful.
Rhodes and the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, a part-time ensemble of Boston-area professionals, delivered their part with accuracy, warmth and sensitivity.
In this day of cookie-cutter playing, technically high level but pretty much all the same, Delmoni’s performance of the Beethoven Violin Concerto was a ray of sunshine — a personal and beautiful statement, expertly executed, of history’s greatest violin concerto.
Delmoni in Vermont
Violinist Arturo Delmoni will appear in recital at Randolph’s Chandler Music Hall at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27; call 728-6464, or go online to www.chandler-arts.org. He will also perform in the Capital City Concerts program, “Debussy 1.5,” at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 17, 2013 (www.capitalcityconcerts.org).MORE IN Central Vermont
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