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.


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.