Beilman Brilliant with Mainly Mozart

Benjamin Beilman
The San Diego Union Tribune

Comparing any performer to Mozart would seem almost absurd. But in the manner violinist Benjamin Beilman performed Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 3 in Wednesday’s Mainly Mozart Festival Orchestra concert at the Balboa Theatre, it didn’t take that much of a leap to imagine the young Mozart performing the concerto himself.

Beilman is in his mid-20s, but in his approach, on a genial program that also included Mozart’s Serenade No, 6, Overture to “Don Giovanni” and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4, he convincingly matched Mozart’s youthful musical affect, and he also displayed a pure, uncommonly rich, tone.

But the genius of Beilman and Francis was they took Mozart right where he was. Their interpretation was exactly calibrated to just the right amount of weight and seriousness, allowing the piece its eccentricities and unexpected moments, but more than that, the freshness and vitality of youth.

You wouldn’t call Beilman’s playing commanding, as that would be contrary to the spirit of the concerto; but it was completely assured, absolutely certain, and undeniably charming. There was little ego, as he played as if he was the orchestra’s advocate rather than its adversary. Throughout the concerto, he played passages that didn’t so much start as continue a musical thought that had been going through the orchestra.

For Francis, it was an opportunity to be an equal collaborator. Virtually everything he and the orchestra did seemed an extension of Beilman, just as much of what Beilman did seemed an extension of Francis and the orchestra. It was hard to tell where the thinking of one left off and the other started. 

Read the rest of the review here