DEER VALLEY MUSIC FESTIVAL, Utah Symphony Chamber Orchestra, St. Mary’s Catholic Church, July 18
In an age where young violinists make a big splash and then quickly disappear, Sean Lee looks as though he might be here to stay. He has a promising career ahead of him as both a concert artist and chamber musician, and Wednesday he made his local debut with the Utah Symphony and associate conductor Vladimir Kulenovic at the Deer Valley Music Festival.
Lee played two short works that put his considerable artistry on display. His first piece was Antonin Dvorak’s delightful Romance in F minor, op. 11, which requires a soloist with a light and lyrical touch to bring out its soft and subtle expressions. And Lee certainly conveyed the eloquence of the music with his beautifully crafted and executed phrasings.
In stark contrast, Lee then played Pablo de Sarasate’s showpiece, Zigeunerweisen. A feted violin virtuoso in his day, Sarasate’s music is filled with tricky passages and flashy bravura writing. Lee was undaunted by the task in front of him and delivered a remarkably executed and dynamic performance.
In both works, the orchestra under Kulenovic offered solid accompaniment that supported and never overpowered the soloist.
Before Lee’s appearance, Kulenovic and the chamber ensemble played the overture to Wolfgang Mozart’s Don Giovanni and the “Ritual Fire Dance” from Manuel de Falla’s El Amor Brujo, both of which were executed rather mechanically, and the Act III Prelude to Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, which was given a sensitive and lyrical treatment.
The concert concluded with Franz Schubert’s Symphony No. 4, Tragic, in which the orchestra offered its best playing of the evening. Kulenovic gave a nicely crafted account that brought out the drama of the outer movements, and also the lyricism of the work as a whole.