07/21/17

Staatskapelle Berlin / BBC Proms

"... the Georgian-born Lisa Batiashvili gave a muscular yet poetic account of Sibelius’s Violin Concerto (1903-4, revised 1905) (Prom 2), an ideal pairing with Elgar’s Symphony No 1, written at the same period: both questing works full of angst and melancholy."

Fiona Maddocks - The Guardian

01/07/17

Kölner Philharmonie

Danach ging es deutlich robuster zur Sache, und zwar mit dem Violinkonzert von Peter Iljitsch Tschaikowsky. Solistin war die georgische Geigerin Lisa Batiashvili, die den rauschhaften Zustand, in dem der Komponist das Werk am Genfer See niederschrieb, nachschöpferisch temperamentvoller Geste und virtuosem Zugriff erfahrbar machte.

Lisa Batiashvili, die ein Instrument von Guarneri spielt, gestaltete die Einleitung ungemein seelenvoll, und die technischen Schwierigkeit des folgenden Satzes inklusive der Kadenz mit beängstigender Präzision. Wie sie den Bogen führte, mit unglaublichen klanglichen Nuancen phrasierte, hatte Klasse. Die Romanze interpretierte sie als poetische Ruhezone, bevor sie im Finale noch einmal ihre meisterhafte Technik etwa in kompliziertesten Flageolettpassagen zur Schau stellte. Das Publikum war begeistert und erklatschte sich stehend eine Zugabe. Der Flügel zur Begleitung, an den Antonio Pappano Platz nahm, stand schon bereit. Und man kam in den Genuss eines Arrangements von Tschaikwoskys Goethe-Romanze „Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt“.

12/20/16

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in London

Take the opener, Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No.2. This piece can so easily be milked for its adrenaline-fuelled thrills. What we got here, however, was a surprisingly delicate performance, memorable above all for the icy whisperings of the middle movement. That had a lot to do with the superb soloist, Georgian violinist Lisa Batiashvili, who adapted her tone to the music’s every whim. - Hannah Nepil, Financial Times

11/25/16

Tchaikovsky & Sibelius with Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin

Naming the soloist on the last concerto recording you heard is probably easy. But can you name the orchestra? On this disc, there’s no danger of forgetting that it’s Daniel Barenboim’s Berlin Staatskapelle; the quality of the orchestral playing, the warmth and depth of tone are constant reminders. They offer worthy support to outstanding, insightful performances from violinist Lisa Batiashvili, who, like Barenboim, here commits the Tchaikovsky concerto to disc for the first time. She’s a dreamy-sounding, inward soloist at the start, shaping the melodies with care yet propelling them forward – this mammoth work has rarely seemed so concise. The Sibelius soars and sings in the first movement, and dances in the finale with a rare agility. As for Barenboim, he gives the orchestral parts the depth and scope of symphonies: the climax of the first movement of the Sibelius will knock you flat. -Erica Jeal, The Guardian, 5*

About Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto

“It is a tribute to Barenboim, and particularly to the musicianship of Lisa Batiashvili, that the excellence of her performance of Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto was far from overshadowed by the Elgar that followed. Batiashvili’s playing had all the mix of gutsy grandeur and soaring lines the piece demands, with the details never blurred even in the tearaway finale, while the interplay between soloist and orchestra was of a very special order.” – Martin Kettle, The Guardian, 5*

“Lisa Batiashvili was the ferocious soloist in Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, intense in the first movement, luminous and heartfelt in the second, scintillating in the quickfire finale. It was a faultless performance, enthralling and electrifying. ... In the tender Canzonetta, with its quietly sobbing accompaniment, Batiashivili played as if singing an aria. We were in the melancholy landscape of Tchaikovsky’s opera Eugene Onegin, premiered in 1879, a year after the violin concerto.” – Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian, 5*

“The first half of the second concert in the series was no less glorious, as Lisa Batiashvili joined Barenboim and his band for Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D. There was no trace of vanity in her playing or her body-language, and she presided over the orchestra as persuasively as Argerich had done – indeed, for much of the time Barenboim let this young Georgian virtuoso set the pace. She brought classical restraint to this high-Romantic music, with no indulgence in swoops or slides apart from the ones dictated by the score, and she delivered those – even when rapidly double-stopped – with flawless ease and precision; for the Canzonetta she found a chaste beauty of sound.” – Michael Church, The Independent, 4*

“Lisa Batiashvili was the soloist in a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto that was lithe in the solo violin music, but bold and full-throated from the orchestra. Her sound is slim, with darker colours held in reserve, and her style unaffected. Every note was crystal clear even in the fastest music and Barenboim played his part by whipping up the excitement in the finale.” – Richard Fairman, Financial Times, 4*

Reviews from the USA Tour

 “…as fine a live performance of the [Brahms Violin Concerto] that I can recall.”

Chicago Sun Times April 2013 

“Batiashvili received a thunderous ovation, one of the longest and most enthusiastic accorded a downtown soloist in recent seasons.”

The Classical Review April 2013

"Lisa Batiashvili's triumphant account of the Brahms Violin Concerto"

Chicago Tribune April 2013

General press

“A superlative performance by the young Georgian violinist Lisa Batiashvili. There was no vanity in her playing, just an elegantly expressive virtuosity which went to the heart of this work, and her sound was ideally focused for the difficult acoustic. Her encore made a welcome break from the usual Bach/Kreisler routine: a Georgian song-and-dance by Sulkhan Tsintsadze, charmingly arranged for violin and orchestra by her father Tamas Batiashvili.” *****

The Independent, 08/2013

“An outstanding performance of the Violin Concerto by Lisa Batiashvili, wonderfully controlled and tautly focused.”

The Guardian, 08/2013

“No doubt, though about [Sakari Oramo’s] firm partnership with Lisa Batiashvili in Sibelius’s violin concerto. Their first notes shone like morning light breaking through mist. Batiashvili masterfully varied her tone and dynamics, and probed the concerto’s sometimes anxious emotions without melodrama. She’s the complete musician: Heart balancing head; ego placed at the music’s service”

The Times, 08/2013

“The soloist was Lisa Batiashvili, outstanding even among the very many fine violinists of her generation.
This cadenza — a sudden freeing of the individual voice from its dark orchestral environment — was, in the hands of Batiashvili, a searing portrait of the creative soul inwardly screaming in anguish. … Batiashvili compressed the D-S-C-H motif tightly within both the cadenza and a Scherzo that seemed both to thumb the nose to authority, and to turn in on itself in grotesque self-mockery.
The sheer stamina, intensity of focus and perfectionism of pitch and voicing in Batiashvili’s performance was remarkable. And her encore — Shostakovich’s droll little Dance of the Dolls — was a perfectly judged release of tension.” –

The Times 01/2011

„There are many star female fiddlers, but Lisa Batiashvili is special, a violinist of ever-riveting depth and range.“

Listen (New York), 02/2011

„The true star of the evening, however, was the [Beethoven] concerto’s soloist, Lisa Batiashvili. The youngest competitor in the history of the Sibelius Violin Competition, Batiashvili delivered  an exceptionally nuanced and elegant performance of the work, with her color choices adding many sublime moments to the performance. Along with the orchestra, the soloist moved between Beethoven’s stormy outbursts and resplendent chorales with great ease—her tone never losing its beauty even in the highest of passages. Playing Fritz Kreisler’s cadenzas, Batiashvili brilliantly voiced the double-stopped counterpoint lines, adding an extra sense of drama even to the solo moments. The sold-out crowd ate it up, never relenting in its ovation until Batiashvili had taken three separate bows.“

 www.feastofmusic.com, 08/2012

„The Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Canadian conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Georgian violinist Lisa Batiashvili managed to ride the old warhorses to victory. The musicians ignored hand-me-down clichés, defied interpretive traditions and, most important, performed as if communal lives were at stake. [...] Commanding a dazzling technique at the service of profound sensitivity, she took telling liberties with tempo and line yet always sustained rhythmic tension. Exploring vast dynamic extremes, she soared in dramatic outbursts, whispered in lyrical indulgences and lingered poignantly over subtle nuances. She was inspired, and inspiring, even when breezing through Fritz Kreisler’s fiendishly anachronistic cadenzas.”

Financial Times, 08/2012

„Batiashvili left no question about why she is considered one of her generation's finest violinists.“

Philadelphia Inquirer, 08/2012

„Ms. Batiashvili played with pure, gorgeous tone and fabulous technique. She made child’s play of Fritz Kreisler’s cadenzas, even in double-stopped counterpoint. Could you have fairly asked for more? The audience, to judge from its standing ovation, was fully content.“

New York Times, 08/2012

„The exquisite centerpiece of the evening, however, was the Violin Concerto by Beethoven with the soloist Lisa Batiashvili. The astonishing ease with which the unpretentious Georgian violinist masters even the most extreme technical demands – her enticing tone a given – one already knows to expect from her. Yet, the performers brought together two different styles of music making without it feeling like a patchwork: on the one hand Batiashvili’s noble, discreet, more conventional playing style – expressive shifts included – and on the other Hengelbrock’s more direct approach. It succeeded because they listened and responded to each other in a seismographic way. The way everyone introduced and kept the intensity in the soft passages until the listener was brought to tears, was, after all unforgettable.“

Hamburger Abendblatt – 10/2012

„From her first entry, Lisa Batiashvili was heart-stopping. If you’re in Britain, she will be visiting next year, and whatever happens, do not miss her. Rearrange your holidays, pawn the Steinway, sell the family silver if necessary – whatever it takes, you must get a ticket. Since coming second in the Sibelius Competition as a 16-year-old in 1995, she has had a glittering career. She also possesses a phenomenal technique and a legato that could convince you the circular bow has finally been invented. Batiashvili’s talents were firmly at the service of the music, however, and every aspect of her performance showed focus and concentration.“

Bachtrack.com, 10/2012

„She impeccably made her fingers dance, fly, jump on her Stradivarius, and thereby got the utmost of what Prokofiev embedded in the score when writing his violin concerto: Initiative, exhilaration, excitement and zest for life. The sparkling violinist gave it all. [...]Lisa Batiashvili entered the spotlight in her fiery red evening dress, playing with an irresistible radiance and desire to “win,” and became – in this fashionably insinuated “Jeu de cartes” of the violin – the “winner” of the evening with good margin.“

Berliner Morgenpost, 11/2012

About Brahms

„This performance is lively and warm, partly thanks to Batiashvili [the concerto's electrifying soloist on this CD], who sets the dominant tone in her darkly sensuous opening line . . . throughout Batiashvili remains herself: less showy than some but deeply responsive to the music's inner workings and its colours. The range of hues summoned within her long phrasings is wondrously wide, each one delicately applied. The slow movement, the concerto's singing heart, is tender without being sentimental... Here is the sort of thoughtful reading that makes you fall in love with the concerto all over again.“

The Times, 01/2013

“Batiashvili can always justify revisiting a popular work such as the Brahms Violin Concerto. Her reading of this tough masterpiece is more lyrical than combative, but there is a tensile quality throughout. Speeds are well judged and the Dresden band play winningly. It was a brilliant idea to fill the disc with the Three Romances, Op 22, by the woman with whom Brahms became infatuated. Lush and poignant, they make one regret that Clara’s career as a composer became subordinate to her husband’s.”

The Sunday Times, 01/2013

„Batiashvili maintains a firm line and a sweetly singing tone throughout, again coaxing from Thielemann and the Staatskapelle Dresden an intimate veil of sound, expressive and dreamily impassioned . . . . Batiashvili manages to impress her own stamp upon a performance that balances the intimate gesture with the heroic impulse.“

Audiophile Audition, 01/2013

„From her very first entry until the last note she played, I was in some kind of trance caused by the exquisite, rich, silky tone which emanated from her 1709 Stradivarius. Not only was her sound beautiful, but she commanded the stage, seemingly feeling completely at ease in front of the orchestra. There was some great virtuosic playing too, most notably in the cadenza, where Batiashvili elected to play her own adaption of Fritz Kreisler’s cadenza, rather than the more common one by Brahms’ colleague Joseph Joachim.“

Bachtrack 02/2012 -- (concert with Sydney Symphony Orchestra)

About the Shostakovich Concerto

„Batiashvili is highly impressive in Shostakovich’s Concerto. Her playing is often breathtaking -- she has a hugely adaptable sound, a well-judged and flexible vibrato, immaculate phrasing, and a piercingly precise sense of intonation. Even better, she knows how to use all these in the service of the music . . . Esa-Pekka Salonen is alive to the score's finer details.“

The Strad, 03/2011

„Batiashvili is highly impressive in Shostakovich’s Concerto. Her playing is often breathtaking -- she has a hugely adaptable sound, a well-judged and flexible vibrato, immaculate phrasing, and a piercingly precise sense of intonation. Even better, she knows how to use all these in the service of the music . . . Esa-Pekka Salonen is alive to the score's finer details.“

The Strad, 03/2011

„There's a personality here, and an interesting one . . .[Shostakovich]: [Batiashvili] gives it the finest performance I've heard in many years . . . The cadenza from the third into the fourth movement is an object lesson in how to build tension without peaking too soon. Meanwhile, the fast movements are razor-sharp, and incisive without overplaying.“

San Francisco Classical Voice, 04/2011

Lisa Batiashvili - highly-acclaimed Beethovenfest

Lisa Batiashvili‘s concert at Beethovenfest Bonn was a big success. Together with the WDR-Sinfonieorchester under Jukka-Pekka Sarraste she performed Beethoven‘s violinconcert D-major op. 61.

There local newspaper Bonner Generalanzeiger wrote a rhapsodic review:

„Die Geigerin spielt ihren Part mit einem schlanken Ton, dessen Schönheit einer starken sinnlichen Komponente nicht entbehrt...“ 

You can read the whole article in German here:
http://www.general-anzeiger-bonn.de/bonn/kultur/Diesmal-spielt-Lisa-Batiashvili-sogar-mit-Dirigent-article858288.html

Lisa Batiashvili at the Proms 2011

“The soloist was Lisa Batiashvili, outstanding even among the very many fine violinists of her generation.
This cadenza — a sudden freeing of the individual voice from its dark orchestral environment — was, in the hands of Batiashvili, a searing portrait of the creative soul inwardly screaming in anguish. … Batiashvili compressed the D-S-C-H motif tightly within both the cadenza and a Scherzo that seemed both to thumb the nose to authority, and to turn in on itself in grotesque self-mockery.
The sheer stamina, intensity of focus and perfectionism of pitch and voicing in Batiashvili’s performance was remarkable. And her encore — Shostakovich’s droll little Dance of the Dolls — was a perfectly judged release of tension.” -
(The Times, August 2011)

“Like Oistrakh, Batiashvili intuits the power of the sweet, small voice to stand up in the face of massed ranks, and with her 1709 Stradivarius she spun out long yearning songs over the darkness of the orchestra's basses and horns, touching on unknown images and shuttered parts of the soul. Salonen reined in the Philharmonia’s volume to let her serenely mellifluous sound float those cantilenas high, ideally audible as it threaded through the Albert Hall resonance. If occasionally I felt he removed some of the tension with his careful volume control, Batiashvili decisively re-injected it in her taut playing of the great Cadenza, and she has every bit of the technique required for the lethal difficulties of the last movement.” - (Theartsdesk.com, August 2011)

“The results were spellbinding. From the Nocturne's snaking opening statement, Batiashvili chained herself to the writhing melody, her expressive style seamlessly matched to the collision between public and private emotion at the heart of the work. This conflict is at its starkest in the exhausting cadenza, where the soloist's musical personality breaks itself down to nothing before re-emerging in rampaging gestures, with a force derived from a fragile hold on despair. Like Beckett's narrator, the violinist must go on, can't go on, goes on.

So Batiashvili went on, with an encore from Shostakovich's Dances of the Dolls, further confirming the seamless expressive marriage she has formed with Salonen and the Philharmonia.”  - (The Guardian (5 stars), August 2011)

“Equally tremendous, if not more so, was Lisa Batiashvili’s all-encompassing account of the same composer’s First Violin Concerto. Lisa Batiashvili projected her plangent line above it perfectly, eminently audible yet retaining the music’s underlying intimacy.” - (Seenandheard, August 2011)

“The soloist was the immensely gifted and accomplished young violinist Lisa Batiashvili. All the impressive attributes of her playing were present here: a plush, shimmering, beautifully focused sound; impeccable intonation; rhythmic integrity; a winning combination of elegance and impetuosity.” (The New York Times, March 2011)

“Her playing is often breathtaking – she has a hugely adaptable sound, a well-judged and flexible vibrato, immaculate phrasing, and a piercingly precise sense of intonation. Even better, she knows how to use all these in the service of the music…There’s a real sense of a story being told, and a deep and touching sincerity to these performances.” (The Strad, March 2011)

“Lisa Batiashvili is special, a violinist of ever-riveting depth and range. Batiashvili realizes Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with an intensity both emotional and dynamic. Her phrasing in the Passacaglia and cadenza is fantastically subtle, her purity of tone like a blade to the heart.” (Listen Magazine, February 2011)

“This DG debut disc confirms Batiashvili as a powerful musical voice with an exciting future.” (The Observer, February 2011)

“It's a marvellous performance." (The Independent, February 2011)

“Her move across to DG brings with it a stunning label debut of quite a different order of power than anything she has given us before...With well-chosen fill-ups, this whole, unmissable disc is Lisa Batiashvili’s first great recording. More to come, one hopes." (Gramophone, February 2011)

“In the plaintive, halting phrases of the first movement she played with a shimmering, delicate tone and conveyed all the mystery of the music... but once the movement took off on its episodic, vehement explorations, Batiashvili was all arresting command and incisive attack. In the pensive Adagio movement, she played with aching tenderness and melting sound. The rousing finale had rustic vigor galore… She seems to have everything it takes for a major career: thorough musicianship, virtuosity, charisma and a lovely stage presence. The ovation was enormous” 
(The New York Times, June 2010)

"Batiashvili’s response was as poised as it was chaste, an almost wilful reluctance to succumb to the enticement of the melody. Then the beast within surfaced in the gruffly overworked G-string and we began to realise that appearances can be deceptive. The scherzo had a devilish glint and ear-pricking clarity – indeed it would be hard to imagine an exposition of the orchestral part more subtly tailored to a soloist. Enchantment, when it finally came in the aerial flutterings of the closing pages, felt earned – and all the more satisfying for it." (The Independent, April 2010)