Russian National Orchestra wows Kravis Center crowd

Stefan Jackiw, Russian National Orchestra
Palm Beach Daily News

In music, the Russian revolution happened in the 1860s, when a group of five composers joined forces in search for a national style that would rival the Germanic model then in vogue. In addition to renouncing motivic development as a main structural element and substituting it with a virtuosic approach to orchestration, the so-called Mighty Five favored exotic storylines as background for their compositions. Those colorful and structurally simple works continue to be favored by audiences, as seen at the Kravis Center during Monday’s Russian National Orchestra concert. 

The orchestra was joined by violinist Stefan Jackiw in a stellar rendition of Sergei Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 63. The composer’s last European commission before his permanent return to the Soviet Union, the concerto features less of the trademark sarcasm, while nodding to classical structures of the past. It is not a coloristic charmer but rather an introspective work, with dark moments interpolated with virtuosic displays by the soloist.

Jackiw and Karabits were formidable partners, delivering a memorable reading. The soloist displayed not only a potent sound (helped here by the masterful orchestration), but an ability to phrase even unconventional phrases with utmost taste.

The second part of the program was devoted to a single work, Igor Stravinsky’s The Firebird. An early ballet score, still deeply influenced by the Mighty Five’s love for folk tales and colorful orchestration, the work was performed in the composer’s revision of 1945 (it was originally written in 1910).

Read the rest of the review here