By: Geoffrey Maingart
Beverly Hills, CA (The Hollywood Times) 8/16/16 – The 13th edition of the Beverly Hills International Music Festival at Temple Emanuel on Burton Way in Beverly Hills presented the extraordinary Russian violinist Daniel Shindarov accompanied by Alla Konviser in a performance of some of the most demanding virtuoso violin pieces in the repertoire. There are few violinists in the world who would even attempt a program this demanding, let alone perform it effortlessly. When one understands that Daniel will be 92 years old in December the only comment that can be made on every level is INCREDIBLE.
There is no one in the world that can compare with him at his age and for that matter almost any age. He looks 20 years younger and plays the violin like a 20-year-old. The technical challenges of this program are mind boggling and most great artists would be more than satisfied to perform just one of these pieces on a program at the end of a concert.
Daniel began with the fiendishly difficult Hungarian Airs written by the Hungarian virtuoso Heinrich Ernst who was the Paganini of his time at the end of the 19th century. This is a set of variations that tests the limits of violin technique. For Daniel the performance was a walk in a park. The melodies were glorious and the fireworks were just that. He followed this with two great short pieces by Brahms, Contemplation and the famous Hungarian dance #1. In both, Daniel was serenading the audience.
The concert continued with two great works by Tchaikovsky, Melodie and the virtuoso piece; Valse Scherzo. The Melodie was lush and brought out the wonderful sonorities of the magnificent Guarneri Del Gesu violin of 1742 that was lent to Daniel by Dr. William Sloan for the concert. The Valse Scherzo requires a magnificent up bow staccato and double stopping which presents no problem for this great virtuoso. This was followed by two spectacular showpieces by Wieniawski: Waltz Caprice and the Polonaise in D major. Here we had Daniel in his sweet spot. With flying staccato and left hand pizzicato and incredible melodies the violinist was truly on stage having fun. Both are show stoppers and the duo was not done yet impressing the audience.
He continued with a piece he had learned 5 days before the concert, Waltz by Victor Herbert. In this Daniel showed off his incredible staccato bowings and the work itself was delightful. This was a piece right out of the Heifetz songbook. Last on the concert, Daniel ended this incredible program with his own version of the Carnival of Venice variations by Paganini as if Paganini did not make it difficult enough, the violinist sent it over the top with flying arpeggios at whirlwind velocity. The audience was on its feet by the end. As always, Daniels accompanist, Alla Konviser was fabulous and was like his shadow throughout the performance.
After lots of applause and flowers Daniel and Alla regaled the audience with a terrific rendition of the famous Czardas by Monti. By the end of this incredible concert Daniel looked like he could have easily played the concert again. There is not a bead of sweat and he again proved that he is one of a kind and literally peerless as this age. He still practices 4-5 hours per day for the sheer enjoyment of playing the violin. What he might have forgotten about violin playing, most violinists still have to learn.
He has had a storied career, having studied with the great teachers in the heyday of Russia including David Oistrakh and Stolarsky. He was the concertmaster of the famous Bolshoi Ballet and many other orchestras, and over his lifetime witnessed much of the history of the world first hand. He came to America in 1975 and has performed here and around the world ever since. As great as it is to hear him in concert it is a delight to hear him speak of the great events of his time and the amazing musicians he has known and worked with including Shostakovich, Rostropovich and too many to name. Here is hoping that you will stay informed about upcoming performances of this incredible violinist and log on to his website at: www.shindarov.com
The 2nd half of this concert brought us a fine performance of the great Piano Quintet in e-flat Major by Robert Schumann. This was performed by members of the faculty of the Festival including Mikhail Korzhev, Piano; Oleh Krysa and Daniel Hung, violins; Laura Pearson, viola; Wan-Yi Pan, cello. The performance was very exciting and Laura played wonderfully as a last minute replacement on viola for the performance. The Beverly Hills Music festival, now in its 13th season brings in some of the finest teachers and students from around the world and each years they give both chamber music performances at the Temple and at the Greystone Mansion. The Festival can use everyone’s support and you can keep informed by logging into: www.bhmusicfestival.com