Violin in good hands with soloist, orchestra

Stefan Jackiw
The Columbus Dispatch

By Jennifer Hambrick

About 250 years of violin concerto history were condensed into a single colorful evening tonight when the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra and violin soloist Stefan Jackiw performed “Versatile Violin,” a program of concertos by Mozart and David Fulmer, and orchestral works by Albinoni and Haydn at the Pontifical College Josephinum’s St. Turibius Chapel.

One of the finest violinists on the concert circuit today, Jackiw’s skill was in abundance in Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5. After a first movement full of perfectly shaped phrases, pristine technical passages and a chiaroscuro cadenza, Jackiw and the orchestra joined their lyrical gifts in the second movement in deliciously expressive playing. In music director David Danzmayr’s hands, the orchestra became a pedestal beneath Jackiw’s shimmering solo lines and took on a burnished warmth when playing alone.

Jackiw’s no-holds-barred approach in the final movement’s intense “Turkish” section was electrifying, and his moments capturing Mozart’s playful transitions and more-refined and soaring lines were utter delights.

The soaring lines of Mozart’s violin concertos were the inspiration for American composer and violinist David Fulmer’s Jubilant Arcs for violin and orchestra. Performing the U.S. premiere of this densely atonal work, Jackiw and the orchestra navigated through a panoply of extended techniques and virtuosic passagework to create an interpretation of tremendous intensity.

Danzmayr led the orchestra and guest organist Suzanne Newcomb in a lovely performance of Tomaso Albinoni’s Adagio in G Minor. Orchestras frequently perform this work in concert halls that lack organs. Despite some balance and ensemble issues, last night’s performance in a church setting put a fresh face on the work.

In Haydn’s Symphony No. 92 — nicknamed his “Oxford” symphony because he conducted it while in Oxford to accept an honorary doctorate — the orchestra stepped into the opening Adagio with a beautiful, warm sound, and opened up majestically as the pace of the movement picked up. Some beautiful wind playing graced the second movement. The third movement, a heavy-footed Menuet, possessed the flavor of bratwurst and the merriment of the Biergarten.

Danzmayr and the orchestra sizzled through the finale like newly minted honorary doctors scampering back to the ivory tower. Or maybe to the public house.