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Orchestra's concert immensely satisfying

Gil Shaham's long-awaited return to perform with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic paid enormous musical rewards.
Oklahoman Published: October 9, 2012

What was immediately apparent was a consistency of tonal beauty throughout the violin's range, an ideal mix of soloist and instrument — in this case, Shaham's 1699 “Countess Polignac” Stradivarius.

Shaham frequently tended to edge toward the front of Levine's podium, something common in rehearsal but rarely observed in concert. Such stances compromised his ability to project but one can hardly fault him for being fully engaged in his efforts.

There were times when Shaham actually made you hear a familiar phrase anew, not an easy task with such a well-known concerto. He answered the audience's vociferous ovation that followed with a brief encore of music by Bach.

The remaining works were textbook examples of musical nationalism, both of which allowed principal clarinetist Brad Behn to demonstrate his fine technique. Glinka's delightful “Kamarinskaya” was Russian to the core, with hints of Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov.

Kodaly's “Dances of Galanta,” in turn, steeped the listener in Hungarian folk music. With its abundant syncopation, this is music for an orchestra in search of a downbeat. The work clattered along convincingly and its final surge to the end was breathtakingly vivid.

— Rick Rogers