Big, dramatic Bruch and charming Mendelssohn with Mayuko Kamio and the Northwest Sinfonietta in Tacoma’s Rialto Theater
Those who came to last Saturday’s Northwest Sinfonietta concert at Tacoma’s Rialto Theater thinking they’d be hearing just another pleasant Bruch/Mendelssohn combination got a big surprise. Polite, petite Mayuko Kamio whipped out her 1727 Strad and played Bruch’s well-known first violin concerto with the volume of an orchestra section and the drama of an opera diva, before sitting demurely in the back of the first violins while Christophe Chagnard took the Sinfonietta through a reading of Mendelssohn’s “Scottish” Symphony no. 3 that was both passionate and light-hearted – a fitting end to the ensemble’s 2012/13 season.
Kamio’s a Tchaikovsky gold medalist, and while rock-star soloists don’t always pay their way this one pulled out all her competition stops for Tacoma. After the orchestra played Kodály’s “Dances of Galanta” with verve, airy pianissimos and big, rich fortes (and many messy spots) the young Japanese soloist entered the Rialto stage with the grace and sparkly dress of a princess – the proceeded to belt the heck out of Bruch. With so much sound that she might have been an entire section, Kamio brought out every inch of Bruch’s Romanticism with bow strokes that pushed her gutsy-yet-smooth tone right to the very edge of every note and every beat. Using a wide, fast vibrato she sang like an opera diva, pulling phrases (literally) up and across to the audience – unfortunately only half-full – with vocal legato rather than violinistic portamenti. The second movement had subtle nuances from raw to gentle, and the third theme had the attack and drama of a musical theater torch song. In the finale Kamio’s double, triple and quadruple stops were fierce and lyrical, her virtuoso runs intensely musical and soaring to a triumphant climax.
Behind her, Chagnard and the orchestra followed sensitively through the surges and falls, though with too many mistuned woodwind chords. Read more »