Watching the face of violinist Leila Josefowicz, you could literally see and feel the musical passion that the virtuoso possesses. All across the emotional spectrum from deadly serious to playfully child-like, her expression changed with each pass of the bow across the strings.
Performing a diverse repertoire at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall last Friday night, the former child prodigy and MacArthur Fellow launched the evening with Debussy’s “La Fille aux Cheveaux de Lin (The Girl with the Flaxen Hair),” effortlessly breezing through the brief tone poem. Continuing with Shostakovich’s only violin sonata, “Op. 134,” the 33-year-old violinist tackled the three challenging movements without difficulty, flashing an ear-to-ear smile afterward.
The second half of the program exploded with Stravinsky’s “Duo Concertante.” Josefowicz and her longtime piano accompanist John Novacek tackled the broad dynamic range of this five-movement piece with aplomb. From the pastoral to the dynamic, their interplay was of one mind and one spirit.
Next up, Estonian composer Erkki-Sven Tuur’s intense “Conversio” flew by to make way for Schubert’s beautiful “Rondo Brilliant in B minor, D. 895, Op.70.” The evening’s presentation concluded with a pair of Novacek’s own ragtime-inspired compositions for the encore, ending the night – and the Troy Chromatic Concerts’ 113th season – in high-flying fashion.
The Troy Chromatic Concerts’ upcoming season is slated to include performances by pianist Garrick Ohlsson (Thursday, September 30), violin virtuoso Laura St. John (Sunday, November 14), the Academy Of St. Martin-In-The-Fields Chamber Ensemble (Feb. 6, 2011) and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra with violinist Arabella Steinbacher (April 28, 2011).
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
Joseph Dalton’s review in The Times Union
An excerpt from Geraldine Freedman’s review in The Daily Gazette: “In a program that spanned the romantic to the present, Josefowicz played every phrase as if she were discovering it. She brought an extravagant range of tone color and expression to each piece, and she showed a brilliantly facile technique, a puckish humor and an unusually inquisitive, subtle and intuitive musical intelligence that gave everything she played an extra burnishing.”