While Enescu’s language is rounded edges and honeyed tones, Shostakovich’s work is more pointed and aggressive. The opening muted trumpet phrase, an angular burst of music that sliced through the silent hall, was met with solo bassoon, more direct and confrontational than the typical round and jolly tone. Throughout the piece, melodies passed from one section of the orchestra to the other; the ASO made these handoffs seamless, the musicians perfectly matching their phrasing and attacks.
Znaider had been pressed into service to perform the Tchaikovsky when Hilary Hahn withdrew from the concert, and the Danish violinist played with a vigor and determination that would have been hard for anyone to match. His pithy comment at the end of the demanding solo work belies the enormous task of performing the piece, but lines up with the violinist’s self-effacing presence on stage.
The violin concerto is built on a singable theme that the soloist exploits throughout the work — stretching it out to the upper harmonics of the violin, thickening it up with chordal double stops and creating a decadent through line, decorated with trills and florid playing. Znaider conjured up a “goes-to-11” intensity, minus the gaudy dramatic flair a showpiece like this practically begs for, for a superb ending to one of the best all-around concerts of the season.
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
8 p.m. May 31. Additional performances at 8 p.m. June 2 and 3 p.m. June 3. $22-$108. Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta. 404-733-5000, atlantasymphony.org.
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People 2 People: May 26,2018