Rachel Kolly d'Alba

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- 15 SEP. 2012, published in « Chicago Tribune » by A. Artner

« Swiss violinist Rachel Kolly d'Alba made a sensational Chicago debut. Art Nouveau for the ear »


Midway through "Beethoven Festival: Revolution 2012," the nine-day celebration at the National Pastime Theater in Uptown, programming showed unusual imagination and freshness of delivery.

The first came from a well-balanced mixture of old and new; the second, from a sense of involvement audiences perceived as affection.

During about eight hours on Tuesday and Wednesday, nearly everything lived-with or sight-read had an enthusiasm that carried listeners past half-baked or overdone interpretation. Time and again you got the feeling that instead of high gloss here was a spirit of exploration that any live performance is fortunate to convey. (…)

A long, wide-ranging recital for solo violin by Rachel Barton Pine was embedded among short contemporary and modern sets by the Lincoln Trio and Prometheus Ensemble. Swiss violinist Rachel Kolly d'Alba made a sensational Chicago debut. British pianist James Rhodes infectiously previewed an upcoming recital.

A rarity, ecstatically performed Wednesday afternoon, is the Lekeu Violin Sonata in G, once a favorite of Yehudi Menuhin. The young Belgian composer was strongly influenced by Beethoven, Cesar Franck and Richard Wagner. The sonata is therefore more than a relic of the Belle Epoque, and Kolly d'Alba (with Winston Choi at the piano) gave an impassioned reading, seductive in tone and visionary in spirit. She made of it Art Nouveau architecture for the ear, a thrilling achievement.






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