When Sarah Chang’s bow hit her violin strings on Shostakovich’s “Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Op.77” even the crickets at SPAC stopped chirping.
Under the baton of maestro Peter Oundjian, last Wednesday evening’s Philadelphia Orchestra concert reached epic proportions – especially with soloist Chang in the spotlight for one serene piece.
The program opened with Mozart’s “Overture to ‘The Magic Flute,’ K.620,” which led magnificently into the Shostakovich piece. However, it was Chang who held the audience spellbound.
Chang’s grasp of the heart-felt depth and nuances of the work figuratively put her in Shostakovich’s living room – the crowd watching as though right in front of their eyes, he were composing the piece as a dialogue between the two of them.
She was that spectacular!
With her passionate stage presence, Chang expressed every note she played on her violin. Her eyes were closed through most of it, as she faultlessly interpreted the piece.
This was the closest that most of the people in the audience had ever witnessed or heard ‘perfection.’ And they knew it, if the standing ovation was any indication.
Oundjian and orchestra finished with Brahm’s “Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73,” which, although exquisitely performed, felt anti-climactic in the wake of Chang’s towering performance.
She is not only drop-dead gorgeous, but also one of the top classical violinists of her generation. It’s interesting to note how down to earth Chang is – during the intermission she made her way to the merchandise kiosk and signed several hundred autographs for her adoring fans. She is a true diva – but without the attitude.
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk