March 16-19 | 2017
Jaap van Zweden conducts
Alexander Kerr violin
Violin Concerto No. 1
Symphony No. 2
Brahms's distinctive richness of harmony and rhythm are in full force in his ingenious Second Symphony. Concertmaster Alexander Kerr performs Prokofiev's first Violin Concerto.
- A Brilliant Prokofiev First Violin Concerto from Dallas Symphony Concertmaster Alexander Kerr
by Scott Cantrell, Dallas Morning News
Not the least of Jaap van Zweden's accomplishments during nine years as the Dallas Symphony Orchestra's music director has been attracting excellent new musicians. Among them is concertmaster Alexander Kerr, who was van Zweden's successor as concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, and in more recent years a violin professor at Indiana University.
Kerr has been an important force in the dramatic improvement of DSO violins in recent seasons. That he remains a superb violinist himself was demonstrated in the first half of Thursday night's DSO concert, at the Meyerson Symphony Center. With van Zweden conducting, the featured work was Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 1.
Along with the Second Violin Concerto, this is Prokofiev at his most populist. From the sinuous lyricism of the opening through the dancing, flickering scherzo, with just enough fancy fingerwork to impress, this is music appealing even to people who think they don't like "modern music." (The concerto is now 100 years old.)
Kerr dispatched the fireworks with impressive precision and spun out lyric lines with the sweetest of legatos. This was really fabulous playing, marred only by a tendency to rush phrases, mainly in the first movement. With van Zweden keeping a steady hand on the proceedings, things weren't always in sync, but the orchestra played beautifully. I'm betting subsequent performances will come together just fine.