Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
LITTLE ROCK -- Listen. Don't miss this concert.
Get over to Little Rock's Robinson Center Music Hall this afternoon.
Not just to hear the flash, fire and finesse of violinist Giora Schmidt's solos in two gypsythemed showpieces with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, but also to hear the fantastic work the orchestra and Music Director David Itkin do in the two purely orchestral works that bookend them.
Saturday night, twenty-something Schmidt used much of the same pyrotechnical techniques in Maurice Ravel's Tzigane and Pablo de Sarasate's Fantasy on Bizet's Carmen, but toward different musical purposes.
Like the gypsy woman Ravel tone-paints, Schmidt started the cadenza that opens the piece with a rough, coarse burr, gradually peeling back musical layers to reveal her true beauty through ethereal harmonics (the violinist's finger just touching the string) and wicked doublestops (chords played on two strings at once).
Unlike most interpretations of this piece that suppress Ravel's early 20th-century harmonies, Itkin and Schmidt rather emphasized them. Schmidt was more lyrical, though no less passionate, and contributed depth as well as pyrotechnics to Sarasate's florid take on themes from Bizet's most popular opera.

Eric Harrison Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
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