Antonin Dvořák, Jean Sibelius and Chloë Hanslip Bring Enchantment to JSO Stage

For ones who attend many symphonies, they may note there is a recurring theme of young soloists gracing the orchestra stages. That is because these young artists have shown they are not the next “hot” item, but have proven their ability to bring classical music to life with their energy and remarkable talent.

Violinist Chloe Hanslip

Violinist Chloë Hanslip is one example. At age 24, she has managed, already, to perform with notable orchestras across the globe and is slated to perform this season with Detroit Symphony, Houston Symphony, Prague Symphony and National Symphony of Ireland, among many others. She has won awards and received recognition for four of her six recordings.

This past Saturday, she performed a staple of the violin repertoire, Antonin Dvořák’s (1841-1904) Violin Concerto in A minor, op. 53, with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. Not only was she poised, sophisticated, graceful and “in tune” with the orchestra, but she demonstrated a mature ability to interpret Dvořák’s beloved concerto.

The concerto is dramatic, moving, stimulating and scrumptious. Chloë was specific in where she directed the violin’s conversation. First she leaned toward the orchestra and conversed with them through the music. She did the same with guest Conductor Rossen Milanov. She further acknowledged Concertmaster Philip Pan and finally, she played for the audience and through her performance, expressed Dvořák’s resolve and his affection for his homeland.

There are several romantic elements in this piece, though whether or not Dvořák intended that to be so, I cannot say. But Chloë’s body language and her performance conveyed sensitivity regarding the composer’s emotions. She also reminded me a bit of Cellist Alisa Weilerstein with her facial expressions. Chloë remained concentrated during the performance. She was relaxed in that she seemed to acknowledge the orchestra members around her, like old friends. Her serenity was contagious and the entire orchestra was equally relaxed, yet focused.

Her smiles not only denoted her pleasure in the piece, but in her enjoyment with the orchestra.

The version of this concerto I own is of Itzhak Perlman’s performance. He was roughly 28/29 when the album was recorded. Will Chloë Hanslip be among the famous names we know today? I cannot answer that, but I can say she is off to an excellent start.

The orchestra also performed Jean Sibelius’ (1865-1957) beloved Symphony No. 2 in D major, op. 43. There is a gorgeous, romantic leitmotif throughout the piece and my favorite melody first makes its grand appearance in the final movement.

There are a lot of intriguing elements in Sibelius’ symphony, such as the dramatic tone of the strings in the first movement; the brass and cello sections plucking on their strings in the second movement; the way the strings sound like a swarm of bees in the second and third movements; and the meaningful, delicate voices of the bassoons, oboes, flutes and other woodwinds, as well as the intensity of the brass in the final movement.

The symphony is sensational, full of color and variety. It has an epic feel and the emboldened orchestral voices spread a grand wave of romantic elation through the hearts of their listeners. The premise of the entire symphony is played in small increments in between its grand entrance and exhilarating exit. This is the music, this symphony, which completes a great love story.

Have you seen Chloë Hanslip in concert? Heard Sibelius’ symphony? Favor other young soloists? Share your experiences.

Upcoming Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra Concert:
Nov. 17 – 19, 2011

Mozart Jupiter Symphony
Mozart: Symphony No. 41 (Jupiter)
Prokofiev: Alexander Nevsky
: Elise Quagliata, mezzo-soprano

Upcoming Chloë Hanslip Concerts:
Jan. 19 & 21, 2012

The Phoenix Symphony

Jan. 27 – 29, 2012
Sarasota Orchestra

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