Ryan and CSO Launch 2023 in American Style with Wisp of Freedom-Fighting UkraineJan 13, 2023
By Perry Tannenbaum, CVNC --
Between the evening's two fanfares -- for the Copland Symphony famously repackages his well-known Fanfare for the Common Man -- Korngold's Concerto made for a lyrically lush contrast. Hristova was more precise than Vadim Gluzman, who introduced the piece to Charlotte with Christof Perick at the Belk in 2005, five years before his fine recording on the BIS label. But Gluzman was more ardent, personable, and charismatic in his playing. You can tell a lot in the opening bars of the Moderato nobile about which direction the soloist intends to take. There's the richer, lusher approach taken by Gil Shaham and James Ehnes that opts for the alluring path I prefer, and then there is the thinner, more gilded approach favored by Sophie Mutter and Itzhak Perlman that aims toward the exquisite and ethereal.
Hristova most resembled Mutter among these four, but I felt that Ryan and the CSO outshone her in the opening movement. She wasn't playing enough with the orchestra's swells, so their oceanic responses to her episodes weren't like majestically crashing waves, and her climactic cadenza lacked fire and confidence. Reaching the middle Romance-Andante movement, Hristova achieved parity with the orchestra, growing tenderer and richer in tone with heightened expressiveness. Better still, she was outstanding in the rousing Allegro assai vivace that climaxes the concerto, fairly dazzling with her ricochet bowing and pizzicatos. Here she was meshing well with the folksy ensemble as they reached the spirited series of cymbal smashes that signal the onset of the finale.
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