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Macon Telegraph
The centerpiece of the concert was Samuel Barber's "Violin Concerto." Guest artist Giora Schmidt, a student and teaching aide of Itzhak Perlman, played a beautiful Guarneri violin on loan from the Julliard School of Music. From the opening violin theme of the first movement through the perpetual motion of the final movement, Schmidt held the audience spellbound. His playing was satirical or exquisitely sweet, witty or fiendishly intense, but never sacrificed a consistently beautiful and ringing tone.

Schmidt imbued the allegro first movement with a rhapsodic nature. His subtlety in shaping a phrase was displayed in such techniques as ending a rising phrase, not with the expected momentum intact, but rather with a slightly delayed or "agogic" beat on a pure pianissimo that was achingly poignant but never overused. His sense of rubato, the stretching of the rhythmic pulse of the music, was tasteful and Gnam was following every nuance with the orchestra.
The second movement, an andante, was a leisurely unfolding of themes in string texture over that was suspended a floating oboe solo which was then gently passed around the wind section. The violin entered after nearly a third of the movement is over and Schmidt mimicked the gentleness of the wind solos, entering quietly but building in intensity through the declamatory violin commentary.
In the theme following this section, Schmidt displayed the fat, romantic sound that makes every listener love the violin.
The third and final movement showed Schmidt's virtuosity in its ceaselessly rapid movement. Though technically challenging, Schmidt made it look easy, even to the point of giving it a festive feel much like a country fiddler. This is not to say that tone in any way suffered, Schmidt's technique was simply solid enough that he was utterly comfortable and could imbue it with a playful quality.

Although Macon audiences are overly generous with standing ovations, this was one time when it could not be prevented; the audience was propelled to its feet by the momentum of the performance. And we were rewarded aptly. Schmidt played a double encore of two Paganini caprices for unaccompanied violin.

The sheer magnetism of Schmidt's playing was reflected in the faces of the orchestra, particularly the string players, as they watched. His up-bow staccato made the Guarneri actually chuckle with glee (as did many of its listeners). The intonation on the double octaves was so perfect as to fool the ear into hearing only single notes with harmonic overtones. All who shared in this experience went away edified.
For those who missed it, well, my condolences.
K.S. Morrison Macon Telegraph
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