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The Weekend

Critic’s Choice

Tue Feb 20, 2018 at 3:24 pm

By David Fleshler

Béla Bartók

Béla Bartók

Bela Bartók composed one of the 20th century’s great violin concertos, but one that’s heard less frequently than many of its counterparts.

With its rough-edged Hungarian folk themes, dissonances and raucous blasts of wind and brass, the concerto may have sounded harsh to audiences 80 years ago. But today, with its lyricism, hard-driving excitement  and deep understanding of the violin’s capabilities, it feels more in line with the concertos of Brahms, Tchaikovsky and the other composers who put some of their best work into compositions for violin and orchestra.

Gil Shaham will perform the concerto, one of the most difficult in the repertoire, Saturday with the New World Symphony at the Arsht Center in Miami. The genial warmth of Shaham’s playing recalls Itzhak Perlman in his prime, although Shaham adds to this a smoothness, neatness and agility all his own.

Also on the program is Brahms’ Symphony No. 3 and Liszt’s Les Préludes. Conducting will be Pablo Heras-Casado, principal conductor of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in New York, who frequently appears as guest conductor with the world’s greatest orchestras.

The New World Symphony and violinist Gil Shaham perform 8 p.m. Saturday at the Arsht Center in Miami.


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