UTAH SYMPHONY CHAMBER ORCHESTRA, St. Mary's Church, Wednesday
Andrej Power, who made his Utah Symphony debut Wednesday evening in Park City, is a young violinist with immense talent. He dazzled the large audience in attendance at St. Mary's Catholic Church with his hypnotic performance of Beethoven's imposing concerto.
Only 21, Power already possesses talent that goes far beyond his years. And he has the potential to go far. He could very well be the next superstar of the violin he certainly has it in him.
This isn't the first time Power has played in Utah. He was in Salt Lake City last summer as a competitor in the inaugural Stradivarius International Violin Competition, where he took second place. And hopefully, Wednesday's visit won't be the last time he comes to the Beehive State.
Power made his violin sing. While displaying great technique, it was his exquisite lyricism that captured one's attention. Beethoven's concerto abounds in expressive writing for both the orchestra and the soloist, and Power brought that out wonderfully. His playing was nuanced, allowing him to capture all of the subtleties in the score. Not only was the young Swedish-born violinist in command of his instrument, he was most definitely in command of the music. The Beethoven could very well become Power's signature piece.
The orchestra was under the direction of Keith Lockhart, for whom Wednesday's concert marked his second to last appearance at the Deer Valley Music Festival. (He steps down from his post as symphony music director next May.) The orchestra played luminously and offered Power wonderful support, and Lockhart gave him the freedom to be in charge. Power knew what he wanted in this work, and he gave the audience a memorable experience.
The Larghetto was especially glorious. The movement is one of Beethoven's most sublime creations, and Power captured it with his otherworldly, ethereal playing. It was breathtaking hearing him bring out the finely shaded nuances of the music.
The only other work on the program was Beethoven's Second Symphony. Spanning the transition between the classical and romantic periods, the Second is clearly indebted to Haydn in its character, but it already distances itself from the older composer in many ways, not the least of which is in the robust energy of the themes and in its scope and direction.
Lockhart's interpretation captured the boldness of the work, in part with his brisk tempos. But it wasn't a particularly well thought out account. There was no emotional involvement in the work on Lockhart's part. It was unsubtle, it lacked nuance, there was no lyricism to be found anywhere and it was, quite frankly, sterile. And that's rather unfortunate, considering how fresh and exhilarating the work truly is.