Music review: Midori
Edinburgh International Festival Scotsman review: Midori at Queen’s Hall, reviewed by Ken Walton
The haar hung over Edinburgh yesterday morning like a bad smell. Could the estimable virtuosity of violinist Midori blow it away, at least in spirit, with the whirlwind of unaccompanied Bach that was the focus of her solo recital?
Diminutive though she is, she confronted Bach’s First and Third Sonatas, then (after a diversion into the eccentric world of Alfred Schnittke) the exhaustive D Minor Partita and its monumental Ciaccona, with a physically charged combination of wizardry and musicality.
True, it took a few moments for Midori to find her groove in the G minor Sonata’s opening Adagio, but then almost instantly the music took flight, and Bach’s miraculous inventiveness – the beautiful, sighing praises of the slow movements, the pyrotechnic discipline of the fugues, the sheer exuberance of the helter-skelter finales – gushed like water from the purest stream.
The astringency of Schnittke’s Prelude in memoriam Dmitri Shostakovich (for solo violin and prerecorded tape) came at an appropriate moment, clearing the way for the D minor Partita, and a performance that enchantingly characterised the individual movements – Midori’s gestural Giga was a gem – but equally secured the big, mist-free picture.
Originally published in The Scotsman