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Seen and Heard International Concert Review


Debussy, Sibelius, and Bartók: Dmitry Sitkovetsky, violin, Christian Knapp, cond., Seattle Symphony, Benaroya Hall, Seattle, 29.4.2006 (BJ)

Coming toward the end of his three-year tenure as associate conductor, Christian Knapp led the Seattle Symphony in a thoroughly enjoyable concert that served to show how well he and the players have come to relate to each other. Nuages and Fêtes, the first two of Debussy’s three orchestral Nocturnes, were lucidly and sensitively played, the first sounding more akin than ever to the introduction to the second part of Stravinsky’s Sacre du printemps, the latter showcasing principal trumpet David Gordon to fine effect. Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra, after intermission, also drew a committed and very perceptive interpretation, with telling solos from all and sundry and some passionate work from the string sections.

To my ears, though, the most memorable part of the evening was the performance of Sibelius’s Violin Concerto. Here, backed by Knapp’s sympathetic orchestral leadership, Dmitry Sitkovetsky revealed every virtue you could want in a soloist. True, there were, early on, one or two quirks of intonation. But such minutiae are of no consequence when a violinist can play with such solid and beautiful tone, with such incisive articulation and so clean a line, and with so warm an expressivity as this performance deployed. Most important of all, this was music-making in the grand manner, full of character, even while avoiding anything that might smack of eccentricity. It was, in other words, individual without ever being weird–would that some of our more “creative” opera directors were willing and able to emulate such an admirable combination of qualities! It has taken too long for me to have an opportunity of hearing this superb musician in the flesh, but I hope the experience will be repeated soon, and often.

Bernard Jacobson




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Contributors: Marc Bridle (North American Editor), Martin Anderson, Patrick Burnson, Frank Cadenhead, Colin Clarke, Paul Conway, Geoff Diggines, Sarah Dunlop, Evan Dickerson Melanie Eskenazi (London Editor) Robert J Farr, Abigail Frymann, Göran Forsling, Simon Hewitt-Jones, Bruce Hodges,Tim Hodgkinson, Martin Hoyle, Bernard Jacobson, Tristan Jakob-Hoff, Ben Killeen, Bill Kenny (Regional Editor), Ian Lace, Jean Martin, John Leeman, Neil McGowan, Bettina Mara, Robin Mitchell-Boyask, Simon Morgan, Aline Nassif, Anne Ozorio, Ian Pace, John Phillips, Jim Pritchard, John Quinn, Peter Quantrill, Alex Russell, Paul Serotsky, Harvey Steiman, Christopher Thomas, John Warnaby, Hans-Theodor Wolhfahrt, Peter Grahame Woolf (Founder & Emeritus Editor)