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Inon Barnatan & Leonidas Kavakos

Leonidas Kavakos and Inon Barnatan Bring the Thrills at Tanglewood

From The Boston Globe:
Three conductors made for three days of thrills with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood
By Zoë Madonna

It’s one thing to conduct the Boston Symphony Orchestra, another to play a concerto with it, and a whole separate feat to do both at once. Doing both with satisfying results is even more difficult. This kind of double duty poses a high risk for a potentially high reward, and Friday evening at Tanglewood’s Koussevitzky Music Shed, violinist Leonidas Kavakos — and the audience — just about hit the jackpot….the energy soared whenever Kavakos tore loose into the wild-ride cadenzas (his own arrangements of Beethoven’s cadenzas, from the composer’s piano-and-orchestra transcription of this concerto). The first movement’s long cadenza included a dialogue between Kavakos and timpanist Tim Genis, which sounded almost like a Renaissance dance in its open harmonies and hearty rhythm…I also wouldn’t say no to hearing Dvorak’s Symphony No. 7 again a la Kavakos; conducting from memory on the podium, he took it by storm. For both pieces, he placed the first and second violins on opposite sides of the podium, lending the orchestra’s sound a nimble, balanced quality with a robust bass in the middle.


The rest of the program was Beethoven at his sunniest. Taking center stage for Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4, soloist Inon Barnatan was an absolute delight. His intonation and phrasing were crystalline, and a sense of grounded serenity prevailed no matter how quickly his fingers flew. In the second movement, Adès led an imposing battalion of strings, facing off with Barnatan’s graceful passages. The third movement lit a fire under the pianist, and his playing took on new urgency but remained centered.

Full review.