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MUSIC REVIEW : Berlinsky Shines at Gold Medal Series Event

It’s fashionable, and unfortunately often appropriate, to denigrate competition winners these days, but it has been a good season at Ambassador Auditorium for the Gold Medal Series, a series featuring young competition winners in recital.

We’ve heard pianist Awadagin Pratt, harpist Marie-Pierre Langlamet and now, on Monday night, violinist Dmitri Berlinsky--a trio of exceptional musicians.

Born in the former Leningrad, Berlinsky, a multiple prize winner, is currently still a student a Juilliard. Nevertheless, he exhibited maturity and poise (if room for growth) in his mainstream recital, in taut, polished and thoughtful readings fully collaborative with accompanist Svetlana Gorokhovich.

The first half revealed a violinist fully in control of his instrument and the music, so much so, in fact, that one occasionally wanted some air. His account of Beethoven’s Sonata, Opus 12, No. 1 was forceful, fiery and goal-oriented, all steely tone and tight delivery. Others have found more cheerfulness in this score, but Berlinsky’s performance nonetheless satisfied in its own fierce way.

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Prokofiev’s Sonata No. 2, Opus 94a, emerged similarly intense and rhythmic, even its subtler nuances carefully wrought. Did we have the makings of a control freak here?

For Franck’s Sonata, after intermission, the violinist lightened up a bit, bringing a sweeter tone and greater amplitude to its ripe lyricism. He let it breathe. In this more gracious and grateful atmosphere, the entire sonata, and the central Recitativo-Fantasia in particular, emerged a spacious and vivid journey.

Ravel’s “Tzigane” closed the printed program in a forward, occasionally unsettled but pyrotechnically impressive reading.


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