Jennifer Frautschi press reviews
The Buffalo News
February 6, 2010
Violin warms return of Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra classics
Scandinavian music of a much darker hue was at the center of the program, Sibelius’ ardent Violin Concerto in D minor. Soloist Jennifer Frautschi played the whispered opening theme, over tremolo strings, with an exquisite sense of romantic phrasing and blossoming ardor. The emotional center of the movement is in two widely spaced, intensely passionate upward declamations in which Frautschi gave evidence of both dazzling technique and stunning power.
She played the slow movement’s tender lines with deftly nuanced phrasing that overrode its core sentimentality, and in the strident and impulsive Finale made her violin sing with a compelling dark intensity.
October 29, 2009
Boston Classical Orchestra Celebrates 30 years
Schumann’s Violin Concerto was the last large-scale piece he completed before his traumatic breakdown, an unfortunate biographical association that led to the score’s nearly century-long suppression. (Late in life, Schumann himself, in an asylum, heard angels singing the slow movement and failed to recognize the theme as his own.) The work hinges on dramatic flair, and with assertive skill, soloist Jennifer Frautschi made a persuasive case for the rarity. The opening was forceful and dark, brooding and mercurial; for the central “Langsam,’’ its theme gently knocked off the prevailing rhythmic axis, Frautschi and the orchestra unspooled intense warmth. In place of a barn-burning finale is a puckish, almost Straussian Polonaise, as if the music has left the hall early to grab a table at the cafe. The concerto is vintage Schumann: unconventional and offbeat, the composer characteristically generous with his best tunes. The angels, in this case, got it right. (Frautschi’s encore was another heavenly tune, the Andante from Bach’s A-minor violin sonata.)
Your Observer (Sarasota, FL)
October 14, 2009
The Ringling International Arts Festival, in one grand swoop of chamber music, earned its place in the international festival archives and into my soul, as well.
Pianist Anne-Marie McDermott, violinist Jennifer Frautschi, cellist Edward Aaron and horn player Eric Ruske offered a program at the Historic Asolo Theater that was so riveting and passionate, it left me — a musician and critic — wrung out with pleasure, with tears streaming down my face. And I do not exaggerate.
The program opened with a beautiful reading of Debussy’s Violin Sonata played by Frautschi and McDermott. We know Frautschi from her work with La Musica here in Sarasota, but this Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient seemed to grow in this concert and was positively radiant in her collaboration with McDermott...
But it was the Mendelssohn D Minor Piano Trio that surmounted all the musical miracles of the evening. This was not good playing, it was great. It was breathless, loving, heart-rending, tear-jerking and exhausting; fresh, alive and ebullient. It was everything a chamber performance should be and something so rare as to be cherished.
Napa Valley Register (Napa Valley, CA)
March 12, 2009
All of the sparkle in Sunday afternoon's fireworks-themed concert at Yountville's Lincoln Theater came from the pairing of dazzling young violinist Jennifer Frautschi with the Napa Valley Symphony Orchestra. Earning plaudits of late from both audiences and critics alike, the native Californian showed a rapt audience that there was good reason why maestro Asher Raboy invited her to solo in a pair of warhorses for her Napa Valley debut...
About 10 minutes in length, [Saint-Saen's "Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso"] was lovingly presented by the guest artist and supporting orchestra under Raboy's baton. In the slow Introduction, Frautschi's violin sang a lovely, plaintive melody whose lack of passion revealed quite a bit about Saint-Saëns' cool, elegant expressiveness; in the Rondo Capriccioso, dash, virtuosity and songfulness combined in most effective manner, and was well represented by the soloist's warm and passionate reading.
Alluring in a lime green sheath, the violinist returned after intermission to offer a radiant performance of Maurice Ravel's "Tzigane," a rhapsodical work for violin and orchestra that incorporates the composer's interpretation of Hungarian gypsy music...Frautschi proved she was more than up to the composer's challenges on Sunday afternoon. Although she's a stunning virtuoso, Frautschi seems uninterested in mere technical display, tossing off the most hair-raising fireworks — from bravura bowings to double harmonics — with casual ease. Her tone has a uniquely personal expressiveness — dark, pure, focused and persuasive. It can glow intensely or float delicately.
Telegram and Gazette (Worcester, MA)
February 7, 2009
Czech orchestra puts own spin on music
Watching the Czech Symphony Orchestra Thursday night at Mechanics Hall one had the feeling that the future of classical music was being negotiated. Two thirds of the program was pure warhorse: Smetana's "The Moldau", and then, Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto featuring Jennifer Frautschi, a violinist best known for her recordings of 20th century composers such as Schoenberg, Prokofiev and Stravinski. So the program was predictable, but the collectivity spinning it out was anything but. ...
Capping off all costume explorations was Frautschi's svelte appearance in a stunning, faintly iridescent, lime-green (with olive and sage undertones) long low-cut gown with spaghetti straps. The audience's initial gasp of appreciation for this dazzling entrance was multiplied a hundredfold for her even more dazzling violin technique. The third movement of Mendelssohn's crowd pleaser was tossed off with such burning, casual fury as to wrench the crowd roaring out of their seats... Frautschi's violin brilliance was one peak of the concert...
April 26, 2008
Stravinsky Got Off to an Early Start in Recycling
Thursday evening’s concert of duos at St. Bartholomew’s Church, the last in the Miller Theater’s five-part Stravinsky Festival, offered pieces of Stravinskian quality that were also snapshots of a composer in his own diaspora, hustling to recoup. Jennifer Frautschi was the violinist, and Jeremy Denk the pianist. Together they were splendid in music that sang exotically at one moment and almost exploded with energy the next....
Adding the violin to Stravinsky’s famous “Danse Russe” from the piano version of “Petrushka” was convincing, especially with players like these. ... The sound was striking: live, full and articulate.
Capital Times (Madison, WI)
January 26, 2008
Symphony Simply Wonderful
Whether it was the flash of a violin bow or the slash of a conductor's baton, guest artistry dominated the Overture Hall stage Friday in the first of this weekend's three-concert series by the Madison Symphony Orchestra. Violinist Jennifer Frautschi, a perennial favorite, arrived to perform Alexander Glazunov's Violin Concerto in A minor, Op. 82. Frautschi... breathed new life into Glazunov's lushly romantic concerto. The diminutive violinist, in a striking black gown, rose to the challenge whenever it was leveled, delivering a crystalline performance that proved a real crowd-pleaser. The only sin was there wasn't more of her to highlight the evening.
The Tampa Tribune
December 1, 2007
Solo Violinist Glows in Glazunov Concerto
Jennifer Frautschi earned every penny of her pay Friday night with The Florida Orchestra, turning a sumptuous, nonstop concerto into a post-Thanksgiving feast for the ears at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center.
As soloist in this weekend's all-Russian masterworks program, Frautschi resurrected Alexander Glazunov's romantic, cascading "Violin Concerto," its third appearance here since 1994 but a piece many other orchestras ignore. The work fit snugly between Modest Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain" and Sergei Rachmaninoff's "Symphonic Dances," all given committed performances under the baton of music director Stefan Sanderling.
Looking sleek and agile in a full-length dress, Frautschi took center stage and dove into the Glazunov, playing its three movements without pause. Armed with a Stradivarius made in 1722 (when Bach was still a young man), Frautschi captured the sweetly lyrical qualities of the first movement and the insistent, elegant tunes that form the arch of the middle section and finale.
Her views in the cadenza were incisive and inquisitive, as if probing beyond the sugar-coated notes. Frautschi brought a true voice to her approach as well as a formidable technique, negotiating the thicket of two-part tremolos, double stops and pizzicatos for the left hand.
The Arizona Republic
October 21, 2007
A special night at the symphony
Resident conductor Lawrence Golan led the Phoenix Symphony in one of its best performances in recent years... Soloist Jennifer Frautschi is a great musician, and she gave what may be the best performance possible of this long-forgotten and forgettable work [Schumann's Violin Concerto].
Cape Cod Times
October 1, 2007
Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra, with guest violinist Jennifer Frautschi
The exquisitely delicate slow movement of Mozart's Violin Concerto No. 3 in D-Major — performed to perfection by soloist Jennifer Frautschi on her rare 1722 Stradivarius violin — featured some of the most sensitive and subtle accompanying the orchestra has yet achieved. Frautschi, who has been awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, is a first-rate Mozart interpreter with a dazzling technique, sweetness and clarity of sound.
Kansas City Star
May 20, 2007
... this weekend’s Kansas City Symphony concerts at the Lyric Theatre also featured a likable rendition of the Saint-Saens Third Violin Concerto by Jennifer Frautschi.
Frautschi possesses a lush, florid tone, a sure musical sense and a forthright knowledge of where she wants to go with any given phrase. Her 1722 Stradivarius projected gorgeously over the orchestral accompaniment, which [Larry] Rachleff and the musicians imbued with an ongoing surge of energy.
Pasadena Star-News (Pasadena, CA)
April 18, 2007
Save the best for last.
That was the thought at Saturday's Pasadena Symphony Concert, where Music Director Jorge Mester scheduled the three-work concert, overture, symphony and then, after intermission, the violin concerto. That's non-traditional, but when you have an audience that is coming out to hear a local celebrity it's smart to make the audience happy.
The local celebrity was young violinist Jennifer Frautschi, Pasadena born and already an international star. She last played with the Pasadena Symphony in January 2005 playing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, and the piece she played Saturday night, the violin concerto of Aram Khachaturian, is one that she first listened to on a suggestion from Maestro Mester.
Frautschi is a beautiful young woman, slightly taller than Mester, slim, with her black hair pulled back into a ponytail. Looks matter in classical music, but the real test is in the performance, and Frautschi is a confident, technically gifted performer. The Khachaturian concerto is a racing, lively, delicious romp, a fast-paced, hot-blooded celebration, full of sparkling moments, of technical thrills and rich folk-like melody. Frautschi has played the work under Mester's baton (in Florida) and they apparently have agreed on a reading that flies along at an almost frightening speed.
The sheer excitement of Frautschi's technical brilliance is the first thing noticeable. She can move her fingers with electric speed and every note is distinct and clear, fully expressed. But her performance is more than just technical excitement. Frautschi has a tender, gentle ear for Khachaturian's lyric content, a wonderfully expressive richness that balances the large orchestral forces.
Mester and Frautschi together found a delicate and rewarding balance in the work. Khachaturian loves loud, explosive orchestral moments but Frautschi's instrument (a Stradivarius) was always audible above the storms. In the rich, challenging cadenzas she found joy and fiery energy. The audience Saturday night gave her a standing ovation, and can hope that Frautschi's relationship with the Pasadena Symphony continues.