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Review: Symphonie Fantastique with Jun Markl and Stefan Jackiw this weekend

Stefan Jackiw
Nashville Examiner

By Linda Brewer

Schermerhorn Symphony Center presents Symphonie Fantastique as part of the SunTrust Classical Series, Friday November 2 and Saturday November 3.

I attended last night's performance, and I can tell you that between conductor Jun Markl and violinist Stefan Jackiw, not to mention the incredible Nashville Symphony Orchestra, this is a night you will remember forever – and assuredly won't want to forget.

The evening begins with conductor Markl picking up the microphone and leading the audience through the workings of the Un Sourire (A Smile), written by Messiaen as a tribute to Mozart's undying genius and to commemorate the bicentennial of Mozart's death.

Taking the time to speak to the audience, with his uniquely charming demeanor , Markl gave us an insight into what Messiaen was thinking as he wrote this lovely work.


Wrote the composer, Messiaen, in explanation of the title of his piece: “In spite of his sorrows, suffering, hunger, cold, the incomprehension of audiences, and the proximity of death, Mozart always smiled.”

Following the moving Un Sourire, Erich Korngold's Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35 was presented with violinist extroidinaire Stefan Jackiw.

Jackiw is hailed for violin playing that is “striking for its intelligence and sensitivity” as stated by the Boston Globe.

Here is an artist who quite obviously plays his music, joyously and simply, for the love of his work. With inspiration and intricate creativity seeping out of his very fingertips, Jackiw makes love with his violin; the bow a direct extension of his hands, his hands direct extensions of his heart; his body, swaying to the music, a witness to the passion he feels as he performs.

After intermission, the hauntingly beautiful Symphonie Fantastique was performed by the Nashville Symphony with Jun Markl again conducting. Performing without sheet music before him, Markl draws the most incredible sounds out of the orchestra, with almost visible lines of electrical current flowing from his hands and baton, to the musicians and back into him, making this one of the most fluently harmonic symphonies I've yet heard performed by the Nashville Symphony.

Don't get me wrong, both Albert-George Schram and Giancarlo Guerrero are fabulous conductors, always inspiring, and striving for musical perfection, with Nashville Symphony, but last night was something above and beyond the norm, a sound and feeling I can't do justice in writing, one you must experience for yourself; an event you don't want to miss, one for which your ears and heart will love you forever.