Kalamazoo Gazette, February 2, 2014
Midori and Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra deliver perfect performance
During the opening movement [of Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No.1], Midori sustained extraordinary gentleness against a menacing orchestral backdrop. Using half-voice tones, she held ominous musical lines at bay. Her melodies emerged as silver threads woven within the larger orchestral sound. Her renowned pure tone and exceptional intelligence were prominent.
Shostakovich used harps, tambourine, xylophone, celesta and tuba to create textural variety and interest. The second movement took an entirely different turn. With presto whirling phrases, Midori set off musical sparks. Passages played by flutes also impressed.
The third movement was majestic, opening with august brass measures leading into a march-like pattern. The violin line contrasted with its sweetness, until it, too, became infected with the orchestra’s repeated pattern. Midori used clean double-stops to emulate the movement’s overall rhythmic architecture before embarking on a lengthy, complex cadenza.
Though slight in stature, Midori magically handled the vigorous cadenza until it elided into the final movement. Surprising xylophone notes quickened the tempos to the thrilling conclusion. Midori’s intelligence opened new avenues to Shostakovich’s genius.