NEW YORK – World-renowned Greek violinist Leonidas Kavakos performed with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Adam Fischer at Carnegie Hall on March 3 to a sold out crowd which was impressed by the masterful technique and artistry of the talented musicians. The entire performance was so powerful and moving, it garnered standing ovations and three encores.
The program began with Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 97 beautifully performed by the musicians of the Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Fischer. The notes flowed smooth as silk through the opening movement and throughout this elegant work with its sophistication, touches of wit, and a bit of darkness recalling Haydn’s Sturm und Drang period. The Menuetto with its intricate violin solo was delightful.
Kavakos was welcomed to the stage with warm applause for the second piece on the program, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Violin Concert No. 5, “Turkish,” as it is known for its international quality which includes “a Hungarian dance motif, an Italian emphasis on violin technique, a German sense of melody, and a French sense of refinement—especially in the Rondo finale,” as noted in the concert’s program.
Kavakos demonstrated his usual exceptional technique, masterfully meeting the challenges of this long piece with its virtuoso demands for the soloist, and bringing his artistry and a freshness to this frequently performed violin concerto. The interplay between Kavakos on violin and the entire orchestra was wonderful as if they played together constantly. The finale with its well-known allegro and contrasting slow sections was so well-played, leading into the beautiful ending, audience members continued their applause until Kavakos returned to the stage and performed an encore, Bach’s Gavotte en Rondeau from Violin Partita No. 3 in E Major, BWV 1006. Kavakos’ stunningly beautiful performance on solo violin will undoubtedly remain a cherished memory for all the audience members present.
Following the intermission, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra proved once again that it is the best in the world, performing Mozart’s Symphony No. 41, “Jupiter.” The beautiful notes filled Carnegie Hall as the musicians delighted the audience with their dynamic performance of this powerful piece. According to the program notes, Mozart was suffering a great deal during the time he wrote the piece and yet the work conveys such beauty and power, it is a true testament to his genius. The Vienna Philharmonic conveyed the beauty, power, and genius of Mozart’s final symphony through their tremendous skill and talent in the truly memorable performance. They earned a standing ovation which led to two encores.
Conductor Adam Fischer explained that the first encore was written by Mozart at the age of 13 and relates to Jupiter which “he wrote at the very old age of 34.” Mozart’s Cassation for Orchestra in G Major, K. 63, is beautiful on its own, the music clearly an echo of what was to come in the Jupiter, and the fact that he was 13 when he wrote it highlights a type of genius the world is unlikely to ever see again.
The orchestra’s enchanting performance of the piece led to even more applause and another encore, Mozart’s Overture to The Marriage of Figaro, K. 492. Though the piece may be the most famous overture in the entire world, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra managed to play it with such an effortless vitality and power, it was like hearing it for the first time ever. The audience was simply enthralled by the quality of the performance and looked forward to the upcoming performances at Carnegie Hall.
More information about Leonidas Kavakos, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and upcoming concerts at Carnegie Hall is available online: carnegiehall.org.