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Press: Concert Reviews

San Francisco Symphony Orchestra / Michael Tilson Thomas, 14th, 16th and 17th May 2014, Bartok 2nd Violin Concerto

San Francisco Chronicle by Joshua Kosman

[...] Tetzlaff joined Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony for a superb performance of Bartók's Second Violin Concerto. This was a virtuoso display of technical bravura and emotional eloquence, all wrapped into one beautifully integrated package. [...] Tetzlaff seemed to have all of these tonal shifts directly at his fingertips, moving from one mood to another with effortless ease - and, more important, helping the listener hear the connections among the concerto's disparate strains. [...] In the slow movement, Tetzlaff rose to even greater heights, probing the molodic contours of the main theme in ways that made each successive variation sound both surprising and logical. The finale, in which the orchestra plays its most important role,brought the concerto to a close in a flurry of showmanship. [...]

Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, 5th and 06th April 2014, Schostakovich’s First Violin Concerto

Saint Louis Post Dispatch, Arpil 7th 2014 - Robertson and friend provide power and beauty - by Sarah Bryan Miller

[...] Tetzlaff was phenomenal, preforming in a manner that had to be seen as well as heard in order to be believed. His technique is astonishing, as is his stamina, in a work that runs three-quarters of an hour and keeps its soloist hopping for most of the time. [...]

Christian Tetzlaff and Lars Vogt in Boston

Boston Classical Review, 31st March 2014 - Tetzlaff, Vogt bring illumination and intensity to duo recital
by Aaron Keebaugh

[...] Yet this is music of arresting beauty. The whistling tones that Tetzlaff pulled from his violin hovered in midair. Vogt's scattered chords left harmonics in their wake, the sound circling overhead like a halo. The soaring line of Bewegt, the fourth of the set, died away into brittle tones in a single melodic arch  - compressed romanticism at its finest.The show-stopper of the afternoon was Bartók's Violin Sonata No. 1, which featured the duo in equally rich and adventurous territory.
[...] Yet this turbulent music breaks frequently into spry themes and passages of warm lyricism. Tetzlaff and Vogt supplied lovely singing tone for the aria and variations of the Adagio. The Scherzo, taken at a brisk pace, had the romp of a Ländler, and their sparkling reading of the finale put the exclamation point on the afternoon's program. [...]

Boston Globe, 01st April 2014 - With Christian Tetzlaff and Lars Vogt, everything sounds bigger and better - by David Weininger

[...] When the violinist Christian Tetzlaff and pianist Lars Vogt reached this passage in their Sunday recital at Jordan Hall, several things happened. Tetzlaff's tone darkened substantially, the tempo slowed a bit, and he and Vogt expanded the dynamic range, so that each dissonance seemed like a cry of pain. When the music shifted back to the major, it was as though dawn had broken after a long night.

[...] But what was most remarkable was that there was no moment in this entire, familiar, piece that didn't convey a sense of total creative investment. [...]

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Joseph Joachim Violin Concerto at Carnegie Hall New York

The New York Times, 31st March 2014 - A Hungarian Sampler, Lighthearted to Brooding
by Vivien Schweitzer

[...] Joachim's concerto, about 50 minutes long, isn't as structurally cohesive as the Brahms and Bruch concertos. (He performed both of their premiers.) But it is full of dark-hued melodies and richly scored orchestral interludes, played with bristling fervor by the excellent Orpheus musicians. Mr. Tetzlaff proved charismatic, imbuing his part with a burnished sound and soulful allure and deftly navigating the whirlwind passagework of the "Gypsy" finale. [...]

Christian Tetzlaff on tour with the Vienna Philharmonic, Riccardo Chailly January 2014

NZZ Feuilleton vom 17.1.2014 - Unvergesslich

[...] Gewaltige Spannungsbögen zogen sie dann in Sibelius’ Violinkonzert in d-Moll op.47 zusammen mit dem Geiger Christian Tetzlaff, der hier genau weiss, wie weit er gehen kann. Er interpretierte seinen virtuosen Part in der vorgezogenen Solokadenz des Kopfsatzes und im abschliessenden Allegro entspannt und frei, gleichzeitig aber in so sorgfältiger Abstimmung, dass das Zusammenspiel nie litt. Von einer harmonischen Beziehung zwischen Dirigent, Solist und Orchester zeugten die Schlüsse: der trocken abgezogene Viertel mit wirkungsvoller Pause im ersten, das atemberaubende „morendo“ im zweiten und die geladene Schlusssteigerung im dritten Satz. [...]

Beethoven Violinkonzert mit dem Cleveland Orchestra / Franz Welser-Möst in Frankfurt am 10. November 2013

Frankfurter Neue Presse, Andreas Bomba 11. November 2013

[...] Perfekter kann man dieses Konzert nicht spielen. Die Dimensionen, die der Geiger in Richtung piano eröffnet, reichen bis zur Tonlosigkeit. [...]

Frankfurter Rundschau online, Wolfgang Heininger 11. November 2013

[...] Und dazu noch ein gut aufgelegter Christian Tetzlaff, der in den Kompositionen versinkt, sich ganz hinein begibt, um unprätentiös wieder daraus hervor zu steigen. [...]

London Symphony Orchestra, Antonio Pappano, London 16th May 2013, Schostakovich’s First Violin Concerto

The Guardian – by Martin Kettle

[...] But this is a concerto in which the soloist is always the focus of attention, rarely permitted more than few bars of inactivity, and in Christian Tetzlaff it had an authoritative interpreter of he highest class. Whether it was in the long soliloquy lines of the opening movement or the almost hysteria-driven violence of the scherzo, or the hugely demanding solo cadenza between the last two movements, Tetzlaff was equal to all its demands. There are few violinists to match him at the moment. [...]

Bergische Symphoniker, Peter Kuhn, Remscheid 10. Mai 2013, Schostakowitsch 2. Violinkonzert

Bergische Morgenpost – Ulrich Mutz

[...] Was Christian Tetzlaff seiner Violine da an schierer Schönheit und Fülle, Vielfalt und Farbigkeit des Klangs abgewann, war auch schlicht Staunen erregend, Intensität und Wohlklang hielten einander wunderbar die Waage: vom Lamento-Anfng des Kopfsatzes bis zur delikaten Beiläufigkeit seiner Coda. [...]

Solinger Tageblatt – Klaus Günther

[...]Was Christian Tetzlaff hier besonders in den Kadenzen an geigerischer Bravour zeigte, dem kann man nur mit dem Begriff „Teufelsgeiger“ gerecht werden. [...]

Tonhalle Orchester Zürich, Christoph von Dohnányi, Zürich 11. April 2013, Sibelius Violinkonzert


[...] so hat man Sibelius’ Violinkonzert tatsächlich selten gehört. [...] Die Rolle, die ihm Sibelius aufträgt, spielt er perfekt. In leicht vornübergebeugter Haltung kniet er sich buchstäblich in die Musik hinein und geht völlig im „Mysterium Sibelius“ auf. [...]

Wigmore Hall London, 20 September 2012
J.S. Bach, Sonatas and Partitas for violin solo

theartsdesk.com - Bach without attitude but with bags of personality from this magnificent violinist - by Alexandra Coghlan

[…] When you hear Christian Tetzlaff play you hear Brahms, or Beethoven or, in this case, Bach. What you don't hear a lot of is Tetzlaff himself. I mean that in the best possible way - so willing is the violinist to submerge himself, to set aside ego and agenda [...] There is something so classical (in the Greco-Roman sense) about Tetzlaff's playing. You get the feeling listening to him that he loves to play beautifully, and where other soloists embrace the grit and flourish in the ugly-beautiful moments he really has to push himself into that place [...]

Met Orchestra at Carnegie Hall New York, May 20th 2012 - The New York Times: A Spring in the Step for a Tall Mountain

On one level the program that the Met Orchestra, conducted by David Robertson, presented at Carnegie Hall on Sunday afternoon was a showcase for the technical and mental stamina of the German violinist Christian Tetzlaff.

This exciting artist was the soloist in three contrasting works: a Mozart Adagio for violin and orchestra (K. 261, written as an alternative slow movement for Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 5, K. 219); Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor, which is so familiar that it is easy to forget how difficult it is; and Schoenberg’s Violin Concerto, a musically gnarly and technically daunting 12-tone score that is not performed very often.

Yet Mr. Tetzlaff played each piece with such immediacy and command that the endurancetest aspect of the concert seemed secondary. [...]

[...] Working with Mr. Tetzlaff is always an adventure. He plays with consummate technique and intelligent musicianship. Yet for all his taste and beneath that slender, bookish and still youthful appearance (at 46), he is a bold artist with an instinctive feeling for the wild side in music. [...]

[...] Mr. Tetzlaff had Mendelssohn’s popular work sounding audacious and impetuous. And the Schoenberg came across like an inevitable extension of the late Romantic Germanic heritage into the 20th century, almost as the feisty offspring of Brahms’s Violin Concerto. [...]

[...] Mr. Tetzlaff laid out the rigorous short phrases as if telling a story, one strand leading to another. The violin part is dense with difficulties. But Mr. Tetzlaff emphasized the Romantic fervor and longing in this stunning performance. [...]

Tetzlaff / Vogt Philadelphia Chamber Society, October 27th, 2011

Inquirer Music by David Patrick Stearns

[…] They're getting better. More like even better.
That's not faint praise when applied to highest-caliber musicians such as Christian Tetzlaff and Lars Vogt.
As an observation on their Kimmel Center recital Thursday, it comes from a high starting point: They previously seemed beyond improvement. Both have been at the top of the classical music profession for years: Violinist Tetzlaff has recorded the Bach sonatas and partitas twice, while Vogt is a pianist who easily encompasses the big-fisted virtuoso repertoire, as well as the smaller-scale program presented here by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society.
The centerpiece was Bartok's 1921 Violin Sonata No. 1, a 35-minute monster of a piece that's stuffed with ideas, all used with a density and uncompromising sense of invention that one is likely to hear only in the high noon of a composer's creative life span. The music also contains some of the composer's darkest moments. From the opening - a cimbalomlike flourish that's folksy but reaches into strange, uncharted territory - Tetzlaff and Vogt followed all of the piece's hairpin mutations, giving the music more shades of expression than I ever hoped to hear. Though Tetzlaff has often been one to explore a piece in minute detail, he seemed to have more sound to work with here, a burnished luster not apparent in previous visits. Has he acquired a new violin? No, he plays the same modern instrument, made by Peter Greiner.
His profoundly concentrated treatment of unaccompanied passages in the second movement stand among the great violin moments I've heard. What set apart the performance as a whole was the absence of struggle. You don't realize how much is there until you don't hear it anymore. Inevitably, past performances have had under-interpreted moments, when the musicians seemed to be saying, "You're going to have to figure out this part yourself." On Thursday, all corners were infused with meaning.
Usually, Brahms ends a violin recital; in this one, Violin Sonata No. 2, Op. 100 began the evening in a relatively quiet performance. It's here that one noticed a difference with Vogt, who has always been able to scale back his sound, but did so while also maintaining a greater richness of tone at the lower end of the dynamic range. Franck's Violin Sonata encourages performers to give it the hard sell; these two musicians had their own engaging but earnest brand of flamboyance. They were probably better than they seemed at the time; after Bartok, anything would be anticlimactic

Birmingham CBSO 28 September 2011 / Andris Nelsons, Dvorak VC

The Independent by Michael Church

[…] You couldn’t wish for a better exponent today than the German violinist Christian Tetzlaff, with his Protean ability to take on the character of whatever work he is playing. The character here was Slavonic, and from his opening flourish he found a genial sweetness of tone. Even when playing pianissimo and stratospherically high, he still dominated the orchestra, with Andris Nelsons calibrating the textures in sympathetic support. In the melody-rich Adagio, Tetzlaff’s job was to sing non-stop, and he did this as one imagines his Central European predecessors must have done a century ago. […]

London PROMS 07.08.2011 – BBC Symphony Orchestra / Edward Gardner, Brahms VC

The Guardian by Tim Ashley

[…] The soloist was Christian Tetzlaff, who let the music live, breathe and sing with a directness few can equal today. Gardner got off to a low-key start with a sedate account of the introduction, though Tetzlaff’s assertive first entry immediately raised the level of the proceedings to the superlative and beyond. Sensational. […]

The Arts Desk by Alexandra Coghlan

[…] Tetzlaff’s volume in full spate is tremendous, flung out like the sward arm of a hero to pierce each listener […]

Philharmonia Orchestra London, Esa-Pekka Salonen,London 23.06.2011,
Bartok Violinkonzert Nr.2

London Evening Standard – by Nick Kimberly

[…] Lucky us; we heard an extraordinary account of Bartók’s Second Violin Concerto. Soloist Christian Tetzlaff has the kind of technique that makes you forget the difficulty of the piece and simply wonder at the range of expression, the variety of tone and colour at his disposal.

While playing, he seemed engaged in an intimate dance with his instrument; in his few moments of silence; he stood like a boxer, tensed for the next round. His sound is big yet not exaggerated; he can play rough, but he also fined things down to a whisper so delicate that it filled the whole hall, turning the heartbreaking melody that opens the second movement into a serenade for lost love.

This is a densely structured concerto that in the right hands – Tetzlaff’s – becomes a free-flowing fantasy. […]

Bachtrack.com – by Helen Fraser

[…] If Salonen was the ideal conductor for the challenging Dances, then for Bartók’s intense Second Violin Concerto Christian Tetzlaff was the ideal soloist. In Tetzlaff’s exceedingly capable hands the (significant) technical difficulties melted away, leaving room for a full expression of the desolation and bitterness in the music. The evident understanding between conductor and soloist resulted in a very well balanced performance, although Tetzlaff’s enormous sound was hardly at risk of being lost. This sound was ideal for the rugged outer movements, although some less intense moments would not have come amiss, particularly in the more wistful second movement.[…]

Senandheard-international.com – by Christopher Gunning

[…] Christian Tetzlaff was simply outstanding – what an utterly superb musician! I could go into raptures. An enormously big, big tone when needed, an equally fabulous lightness of touch for the more active passages, and throughout a complete understanding of Bartók’s intentions. […]

The Guardian – by George Hall

[…] Soloist Christian Tetzlaff’s interpretation wore its technical virtuosity lightly and without any hint of mere display. A highly physical player, his gestures were always the result of his musical impulses, never an illustration of them, and his tone was alive in every note. […]

Financial Times – by Richard Fairman

[…] Salonen was joined by Christian Tetzlaff as soloist in Bartók’s Violin Concerto

No.2. Adding some Hungarian fire to his usual clean attack and rhythmic precision, Tetzlaff turned up the heat to scalding effect. […]

Ensemble ACJW at Carnegie Hall / Christian Tetzlaff / Ligeti Violin Concerto

The New York Times by Allan Kozinn, December 20, 2010

[...] Mr. Tetzlaff, though best known for his patrician interpretations of Bach and Brahms, was entirely in his element here.

In the slow, mournful aria and eerily focused passacaglia he played with a rich, velvety tone and an irresistible sense of line while sacrificing nothing of Ligeti’s angularity. And in the long, wild cadenza at the end of the work, his playing was sheer, explosive virtuosity. […]

National Symphony Orchestra / Christoph Eschenbach / Beethoven Violin Concerto

Ionarts (blog) by Charles T. Downey, November 10, 2010

[...] Suspicions that Christian Tetzlaff would deliver a memorable performance of the Beethoven Violin Concerto certainly proved true. With Eschenbach’s hand at the rudder, this was an expansive, surprising, and uncompromisingly romantic interpretation, with plenty of rubato applied to both the orchestral and the solo parts. [...] my listening life is richer for having heard the piece the way Tetzlaff played it. He approached the score quite freely, adding embellishments and splashy details to the solo part, most notably in his own, very unusual cadenzas. [...]

Orchestra of St. Luke’s / Christian Tetzlaff / Schoenberg “Transfigured Night”

The New York Times by James R. Oestreich, October 31, 2010

[...] Mr. Tetzlaff led some 30 string players through the orchestral version of Schoenberg’s masterpiece of supersaturated Romanticism, “Transfigured Night”, maintaining much of the shimmering, quivering transparency of the original, for six players. [...] Mr. Tetzlaff supplied his typical purity of tone and

wide-ranging colorations. He also injected original cadenzas, flourishes and ornaments in all three movements. From soloist and orchestra alike, the evening presented versatility on parade. [...]

CBSO / Andris Nelsons / Brahms Violin Concerto

Birmingham Post by John Gough, October 1, 2010

[...] Christian Tetzlaff was a soloist of real distinction with a beautiful sound, subtle rubato and a spontaneity which had one on the edge of one’s seat. After a slow movement full of contemplation and lyricism the finale exploded with joy, moving in one urgent and brilliant arc towards the irresistible dance of the final bars. [...]

Minnesota Orchestra / Osmo Vänskä / Bartok Konzert für Violine und Orchestrer Nr 2

Star Tribune by Larry Fuchsberg May 28, 2010

[...] German-born violinist Christian Tetzlaff, too seldom heard in our neighborhood, gave a brilliant, intensely phiysical account of the solo part, easily surpassing his 1991 recording. .[...] Throughout a fiercely communicative reading, vigorously abetted by Vänskä and the orchestra, Tetzlaff's tone was radiantly colored. [...]

Pioneer Press by David Hawley, May 28, 2010

[...] He was dazzling, and he had to be. [...] it's is a brainy work, but also a hugely emotional one - and Tetzlaff brought both to his opening performance, which was as exhausting as it was exhilarating. [...]

Chicago Symphony Orchestra / Salonen / Brahms Violin Concerto

Chicago Tribune by John von Rhein, April 24, 2010

[...] Tetzlaff seemed intent on pulling maximum feeling from every phrase, particularly in the central Adagio [...] Tetzlaff produced almost enough rich, penetrating sound in the opening movement to rival that of the entire orchestra, or so it seemed. The finale boasted real earthy abandon and sharpness of attack but also impeccable control. The audience listened in rapt silence before breaking into a mighty roar of appreciation at the end. [...]

SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg / Sylvain Cambreling / Brahms Violinkonzert

Hamburger Abendblatt, April 07, 2010

[...] Einen kongenialeren Solisten als Christian Tetzlaff hätte man sich nicht wünschen können. Oder sollte man "Partner" sagen? Stellte doch Tetzlaff seine Virtuosität, seine rasanten Tempi ganz in den Dienst der musikalischen Botschaft und eines federnden, agogisch flexiblen Zusammenspiels. Oft genug verschmolz sein Ton delikat mit dem der Holzbläser oder Hörner. Jede Wendung klang wie ein Bekenntnis. X-mal gehört, das Stück, aber so noch nie. [...]

At Tanglewood, a violinist's marathon and his many words for snow

Boston Globe by Jeremy Eichler, July 06, 2009

[...] Tetzlaff offered a reading of the Brahms concerto that was at once immensely virtuosic and deeply personal. From his very first entrance, this was viscerally explosive violin playing, but always with a sense of pupose and richness of inner life. [..] But I think what ultimately moves people is the emotional openness and deep sincerity of Tetzlaff’s playing. [...] Tetzlaff offered a reading of the Brahms Concerto that was at once immensely virtuasic and deeply personal. From his very first entrance, this was viscerally explosive violin playing, but always with a sense of purpose and a richness of inner life. [...] But I think what ultimately moves people is the emotional openness and deep sincerity of Tetzlaff's playing. [...]

Gürzenich Orchester Köln / Gustavo Dudamel / Tschaikowsky Violinkonzert

Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, 22.06.2009

[...] Begonnen hatte man mit Tschaikowskys Violinkonzert. Diesmal stimmte alles, wobei sich die Anteile gelichmäßig auf den Dirigenten, das Orchester und den Solisten verteilten. Der war ein fabulöser Christian Tetzlaff, der die glücklichste Mitte fand zwischen intellektueller Formbewältigung und jenem musikantischen, auch improvisatorischen Esprit, den dieses Werk unbedingt braucht.
Die Intensität des Tons, die völlig selbstverständlich, ja bescheiden absolvierte Virtuosität, die sorgfältige Wahl der Farben für die einzelnen Themen - all das war so suggestiv, so unmittelbar vereinnahmend, dass das Publikum im ausverkauften Haus bereits nach dem ersten Satz spontan applaudierte. Dudamel hielt die glänzend disponierten Gürzenicher zurück, tat aber im Hintergrund viel Gutes. Tetzlaffs Zugabe - die Gavotte aus Bachs E-Dur-Suite - setzte einen weiteren Leuchtpunkt in diesem Schlusskonzert der Gürzenich-Saison. [...]

Wiener Philharmoniker / Pierre Boulez / Szymanowski Violinkonzert Nr. 1

DiePresse.com, 13.06.2009

[...] Unterlegt mit Samt und Brokat. Komplex ist auch Szymanowskis "Erstes Violinkonzert", seinerzeit selbstverständliches Repertoirestück von großen Geigern wie etwa David Oistrach, mittlerweile eine Rarität - aber eine faszinierende. Das konnte Christian Tetzlaff jedenfalls mit großer Überzeugungskraft vermitteln: Konzentriert, versunken und dennoch beherzt zupackend, brachte er die Musik in raschem Figurenwerk ebenso zum Funkeln wie mit seinem schlackenlos reinen Klang, zumal in höchster Höhe. Boulez und die Philharmoniker legten allen Samt und Goldbrokat darunter, den die Partitur verlangt, wussten große Apotheose und schmerzliches Aufbäumen expressiv miteinander zu verblenden: das ausgiebig bejubelte Herzstück eines eindrucksvollen Abends [...]

Deutsches Symphonie Orchester / Ingo Metzmacher / Berg Violinkonzert

Berliner Morgenpost, 27.02.2009

[...] unter ihnen das Violinkonzert von Alban Berg, dem Christian Tetzlaff eine kaum zu überbietende, mitreißende Wiedergabe zuteil werden ließ. [...] Tetzlaff spielte es geradezu mit einer Ausdrucksraserei.

Christiane Peitz, Tagesspiegel, 24.02.2009

[...] Traumverloren auch der Geiger Christian Tetzlaff. Sein Spiel ist das eigentliche Ereignis des Abends in der Philharmonie, sein ins Klanggeflecht des Orchesters eingebetteter Ton, seine einsamen Wanderungen weit weg vom Lärm des Kollektivs, sein Vermögen, vollkommene Hingabe und restlose Kontrolle miteinander zu vereinen. [...]

US Duo Touring with Leif Ove Andsnes, piano / February 2009

Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times:

Putting Solo Careers Aside to Work a Stage Together

[...] Their urgent and insightful account of Brahms's Violin sonata in D minor, which closed the first half of the program, was espedially telling. Here were two accomplished artists with distinctive temperaments forging an organic interpretation that still managed to exude impetuosity. [...]

Jeremy Eichler, The Boston Globe:

When music journeys beyond technique

[...] Two complete musicians guided an audience to the vital heart of music by Janacek, Brahms, Mozart, and Schubert. They played with an astonishing degree of sensitivity, nuance, and imagination. It was a simple - and as complex - as that.
[...] Unifying the night was Tetzlaff's singular voice. He is a musical purist and yet he plays unmistakably with something the violinist Carl Flesch described as "inner participation." No matter what piece is at hand, his performances have a rich sense of interior life. How rare, and how powerful, to hear a player stand out not for the brilliance of his technique but for the depth of his sincerity.

The Philadelphia Orchestra / Donald Runnicles / Beethoven VC / January 2009

Peter Dobrin, Philadelphia Inquirer:

Christian Tetzlaff masters all sounds

[...] Great violin playing can follow all kinds of paths, from the technical razor of Joshua Bell tothe sorely missed depth and humanity of Pamela Frank's now-rare public appearances.
Christian Tetzlaff renders such philosophical divergences a false choice. He's got it all.
He also silenced any critic who might have winced Thursday night at yet another
Philadelphia Orchestra performance of the Beethoven Violin Concerto. The rightness of the interpretation and his teasing out of the concept of creation in a warhorse made this sound like his first outing with the work.
At the core of Tetzlaff's magnificence is his sound. It is intensely sweet, yet it has dimension beyond mere prettiness. He changes his tone in pursuit of expressiveness, adjusting the focus from saturation to airier climes. He takes chances, too; hard-to-nail or extreme high notes, for instance, are never masked with vibrato.
In the cadenzas (one of which involved Angela Zator Nelson, associate principal timpanist) and in the encore of "Gavotte en Rondeau" from Bach's Partita for Violin Solo No. 3 in E (BWV 1006-3), the most impressive thing about Tetzlaff is the fact that despite the perfect technique, he never comes across as cool or uninvolved. He does not rest at the level of a master; he continues to probe.[...]

Bach Solo Sonata and Partitas / December 2008

Daniel Webster, Philly.com:
Violinist Tetzlaff and Bach at Kimmel

[...] His playing reminded listeners that Bach's manuscripts are in calligraphy that flows - no perfect verticals or chiseled note shapes. His playing could have reminded violinists that imagination and, yes, affection carry more weight than centuries of analysis and scholarly rectitude.
[...] It summarized the sense of exploration that characterized all four performances, and it had the effect of removing the distance between composer, performer and listener. [...]

Geraldine Freedman, Daily Gazette:

Electrifying performance by violinist Tetzlaff at Union College

[...] Throughout the evening, Tetzlaff's tone was crystalline, his attacks feathery light, his bowings superbly controlled. His flawless and effortless technique was clean and true, his dynamic range was shaded on many levels. His pitch even on the double stops with the added pedal tone was exact. Sensitive to the music's structure, his musicality had great integrity and purity and was infused with exuberance, delicacy, drama and a focused intensity. His Bach was lit from within. [...]

Joseph Dalton, Timesunion.com:

Violinist excels on many levels

[...] Tetzlaff maintained a gorgeous sound. His instrument filled the room with warm and substantial tone, without ever being ripe or cloying. Every note was nuanced and well placed, yet never was there an obvious effort at creating vibrato either. It's likely that Tetzlaff indulges in a more aching tone for those big romantic concertos, but he showed an approach to Bach that was personal but still clean and restrained without falling into the shrill frailty popularized by the early music movement.
[...] It's a grand soliloquy for the instrument and Tetzlaff made it, by turns, solemn, serene, declamatory and prayerful. A restless cycling through of harmonies felt downright modern in its insistent sweep.

MET Opera Orchestra / James Levine / Brahms VC / October 2008

Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times:
Brahms's Earthy Pasion Upstages Somber Messiaen

[...] Of all the artists James Levine has had as concerto soloists for the Met Orchestra concerts, few have energized him and the players as much as the brilliant German violinist Christian Tetzlaff. Their performances of the Beethoven and the Berg violin concertos in recent years have been unforgettable.
Mr. Tetzlaff, Mr. Levine and the Met Orchestra have done it again, this time with an insightful and exciting performance of Brahms's Violin Concerto to conclude a concert on Sunday afternoon at Carnegie Hall.[...]
In the first movement he tore into the vehement outburst when the violin enters, playing with searing intensity yet utter control. He shaped arching lines with warmth and pliancy, balanced by clear-eyed directness.
In the slow movement he brought such sustained richness to the ruminative melodic lines that the music seemed at once ghostly and angelic. And the finale, taken at a brisk but never reckless tempo, was rustic and earthy, though always threatening to turn demonic.[...]

hr-Sinfonieorchester / Paavo Jörvi / Mendelssohn VC / September 2008

Hans-Jürgen Linke, Frankfurter Rundschau, 06.09.08:
Eine Fülle von Fragen

[...] Eine von Tetzlaffs Eigenarten scheint zu sein, das Neue seines persönlichen Zugriffs auf die Musik aus gründlichem Erforschen zahlloser Details zu gewinnen und aus der Fähigkeit, aus einer ungemein differenzierungsfähigen Detail-Gestaltung etwas Komplettes entstehen zu lassen. Seine Spielhaltung kommt ohne jedes Auftrumpfen daher, ohne selbstzufriedenes Virtuosengehabe, sein Ton ohne Breite, Fülle und Sämigkeit und seine Haltung zur Romantik ohne zurückblickende Gefühligkeit, aber er ist kein kalter Analytiker. Seine Stärke ist seine Angespanntheit, die ihm zu jeder Phrase eigene Gedanken abfordert, die mit einem Grundgedanken über das Ganze in engem Zusammenhang stehen. [...]

Salzburger Festspiele / RSO Wien / Bertrand de Billy, Beethoven Violinkonzert

Das Üppige und das Schlanke

Reinhard Kriechbaum, Wiener Zeitung, 15.8.2008

[...] Christian Tetzlaff, der famose deutsche Geiger, hat dieser Tage erst einen wundersamen Soloabend mit Partiten und Sonaten von Bach gegeben. Nun musizierte er beispielhaft das Beethoven-Violinkonzert. Ja wirklich: "musiziert", nicht bloß "gespielt". Er hört sich die Einleitung an, steigt dann ein, und in dieser aufsteigenden Sequenz mischt er sozusagen die Karten völlig neu, dreht die Tempi um. Da scheint plötzlich alles offen – nur nicht die grundsätzliche Lyrik, die Tetzlaff nie in Frage stellt. Gedanken werden miteinander entwickelt, und Bertrand de Billy erweist sich als ein willig auf alle Tempowechsel eingehender Partner. [...]

Salzburg: Konzert: Das Radioorchester, ein Weltklasse-Orchester

Die Presse, 15.8.2008

[...] Selten hat man Beethovens Violinkonzert so virtuos und gleichzeitig intensiv gehört wie unter dem Solisten Christian Tetzlaff. Der hatte schon bei einem Bach-Soloabend im Mozarteum gezeigt, wozu er fähig ist: klangliche Subtilität, feine Nuancen, intelligente Phrasierungen, schwebende Leichtigkeit, technische Perfektion. Nun bewies er auch bei Beethoven ein tiefes Verständnis des Werks, legte dessen Seelenlandschaft bloß: Zurückhaltung übte er in den ersten beiden Sätzen, die schon fast romantisch anmuteten und trotz langsamer Tempi keine Spannung missen ließen. Aber auch in den virtuosen Passagen sind Tetzlaff effekthascherische Phrasierungen fremd: Brillanz und Einfachheit sind bei ihm kein Widerspruch, souverän umschiffte er alle Virtuosenklippen. In den Kadenzen bewies er Originalität und dramaturgisches Gespür. [...]

Zwei Arten der Musikargumentation

Heidemarie Klabacher, Der Standard, 15.8.2008

[...] Er musiziert technisch brillant und souverän, gleichzeitig scheint er mit größter Natürlichkeit und Schlichtheit vom Frühling, vom Glück, von Jubel zu erzählen. Und immer wieder erinnert er, in oft nur kleinsten Wendungen daran, dass alle Schöpfung endlich ist. Atemberaubend leise das Larghetto, stellenweise durchaus bocksbeinig kam dagegen das Rondo daher, übermütig, musikantisch. Also keine Sentimentalität. [...]

Salzburger Festspiele / Bach Sonaten und Partiten für Violine Solo

Das pure Glück mit Bach

Karl Harb, Salzburger Nachrichten, 11.08.2008

[…]Die uneitle, sachorientierte und doch mitteilsam bewegte Darstellung machte den inneren Reichtum dieser "einsamen" Musik, aber auch ihre spielerisch-geistvolle, anmutige Größe zum Erlebnis. Die berühmte Chaconne spielt Christian Tetzlaff derzeit wohl kein Geiger so nach - als eine glitzernde und doch in großem Bogen durchgestaltete Variationenkette in von Moment zu Moment neuer Beleuchtung, als Folge kleinteiliger, aber stringenter Klangereignisse von immer reicherer Struktur und Figur, von überwältigendem Reichtum des Ausdrucks. […]

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra / Ilan Volkov / Brahms VC / City Hall, Glasgow June 2008

Michael Tumelty, The Herald:

[...] Then, German violinist Christian Tetzlaff gave a magisterial account of Brahm's Violin Concerto, the second wondrous performance of the piece in Glasgow in a fortnight. [...] Tetzlaff's was powerfully structured, played with blazing intensity, unflagging momentum, heartbreaking tenderness, and a virtuosity that flowed eypressively and purposefully through the mighty structure [...]

Recital with Lars Vogt / Glasgow June 2008

Michael Tumelty, The Herald:

[...] violinist Christian Tetzlaff and pianist Lars Vogt gave five-star, thought-provoking performances of sonatas by Janacek, Dvorak and Brahms that amounted to a masterpiece of understated music making in an acoustic which bathed the sound in warmth and set a benchmark for the future of chamber music in the City Hall [...]

London Philharmonic Orchestra / Jurowski: Festival Hall, London Feb 2008

Geoff Brown, The Times:

[...] But once Tetzlaff walked on, we immediately felt better. He's a dependably excellent musician, always fusing brain and heart with racing fingers and a huge range of dynamics. The colour variations brought to the Brahms were remarkable. Songful stretches balanced tenderness with muscle; and there was no flash posturing about the finale's gypsy fire. The orchestra's chief contributions were beefiness and precision. [...]

Christan Tetzlaff / St. Louis Symphony Orchestra / David Robertson / Szymanowski VC No 1 / Dec 07, 08 and 09, 2007

Sarah Bryan Miller, STLtoday.com:

... Tetzlaff made his violin sing throughout, playing with sensitivity and breathtaking technical brilliance in a tour de force. It was hard to separate how much of the appeal of this music lay in the composition, and how much in his performance of it, but the combination was dazzling...

Christan Tetzlaff und Alexander Lonquich / New York 92nd St. Y / Beethoven Sonata Cycle / Nov 29 & Dec 02 and 04, 2007

Allan Kozinn, New York Times:

Beethoven's Sonatas as a Series of Diologues

... In these Mr. Tetzlaff produced a warm, singing tone, acknowledging the music's lyricism without veering into sentimentality. He tended to used dynamic suppleness rather than vibrato as an expressive engine, and when he used vibrato, it was lavish enough to make a phrase blossom, but not so wide as to call attention to itself...

Vivien Schweitzer, New York Times:

In Sonata Finale, Tension Gives Way to Introspection

... From the gently inquisitive opening trills to the graceful concluding Allegretto, Mr. Tetzlaff and Mr. Lonquich played with poise and charm, colorfully emphasizing the rhythmic accents of the Scherzo and illuminating the heart-stopping loveliness of the Adagio with poignant expression...

Christan Tetzlaff / Boston Symphony Orchestra / James Levine / Berg Violin Concerto in Boston / November 8., 9. and 10, 2007

By Jeremy Eichler, Globe Staff, November 10, 2007:

From Berg and Mahler, two works of farewell

... The soloist Thursday night was the German violinist Christian Tetzlaff, a player who interprets challenging modern music with exquisite sensitivity. His superb performance wa painted in half-tints and subtle iridescence. The orchestra under Levine was an equal partner....

Beethovenorchester Bonn / Roman Kofman, Beethoven Violinkonzert in Leverkusen und Bonn

Die Fratze der Gewalt

Klaus Winterberg, Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, 25.10.2007

[…]Christian Tetzlaff beschenkte das Publikum mit Beethovens Violinkonzert. Es war ein Erlebnis von purer, makelloser Schönheit. Kofman hatte seiner Bonner in einen ganz anderen Klangkörper verwandelt, der mit großer Sensibilität und dynamischer Delikatesse auf Tetzlaff einging, dessen selbst gefertigte, originelle Kadenzen rahmte und seinen Tempi geschmeidig folgte.

Zusammen mit der btörend schönen Solostimme entstand so ein Kunstwerk edelster Harmonie. Tetzlaffs Technik ist bekannt bewundernswert, sein Ton und siene Ausdrucksfähigkeit führen immer wieder auf einen anderen Stern. Der Beifall war entsprechend: nicht enden wollend.

Bernhard Hartmann,General Anzeiger Bonn 23.10.2007

[…] Der Geiger entlockte seinem Instrument, das übrigens aus der Werkstatt des Bonner Geigenbauers Peter Greiner stammt, ganz wundervolle, gesangliche Töne, achtete dabei sehr auf das Orchester, das nicht nur in den Holzbläser-Episoden schöne Farben dazumischte. Von betörender Wrikung war freilich auch die leise Pizzicato-Episode des langsamen Satzes, bevor Tetzlaff und das Orchester im Finale einen virtuosen Kehraus boten. [...]

Zürcher Kammerorchester / Muhai Tang, Beethoven Violinkonzert in Lausanne und Zürich

Martina Wohlthat, Neue Zürcher Zeitung 04.10.2007

Betörendes Violinspiel

[…] Mit welch souveräner Virtuosität Beethovens Violinkonzert erfüllte, übertraf im Saisoneröffnungs-Konzert des ZKO in der Zürcher Tonhalle jedoch alle Erwartungen. Den melodischen Reichtum des Violinparts entfaltete Tetzlaff in betörend schönen Klangfarben und einer Pianissimo-Kultur sondergleichen - selten hört man die Spitzentöne auf einer Violine so leise und perfekt gerundet verklingen. [...]

[...] Auch die beiden Bach-Soli als Zugaben zeugten von Tetzlaffs herausragenden Fähigkeiten, die eine ausgefeilte Technik mit künslterischer Intuition auf das Glücklichste vereinen. [...]

Uraufführung: Jörg Widmann Violinkonzert mit der Jungen Deutschen Philharmonie / Manfred Honeck in Essen, Berlin, Leipzig, Gütersloh und Villingen-Schwenningen

Stefan Drees, Klassik.com, 17.09.2007

Verspätete Uraufführung

[…] von einem beeindruckend agierenden Christian Tetzlaff als Solist. Über dieses Ereignis zu schreiben, bedeutet zunächst einmal, die überragenden Leistungen des Geigers bei der Wiedergabe des rund 30-minütigen, ohne Pause vorzutragenden Soloparts vom Gesamteindruck der Komposition zu trennen. Der Grad klangfarblicher und tonlicher Differenzierung, den Tetzlaff der schwierigen Violinstimme bis in die feinsten Verästelungen hinein angedeihen ließ, die Sensibilität, mit der er jedem einzelnen Ton und den daraus erwachsenden Phrasen Leben einzuhauchen wusste und die enorm große, zwischen hauchendem Verlöschen und aggressivem Dreinfahren angesiedelte Farbpalette seines Spiels waren schlichtweg atemberaubend. Die Souveränität seiner Werkwiedergabe untermauerte eigentlich nur den schon anhand zahlreicher CD-Einspielungen gewonnenen Eindruck, dass es sich bei ihm um einen der wirklich großen Interpreten der jüngeren Generation handelt – um einen, der in technischer wie musikalischer Hinsicht weit vor den populären Zugpferden großer Plattenlabel und deren klanglich weichgespültem Vortragsstil rangiert, ohne dass er sich dabei groß medial inszenieren muss...

Anja Renczikowski, WAZ, 18.09.2007

Was lange währt, wird endlich doch noch gut

Mit Christian Tetzlaff […] hatte er den idealen Protagonisten gefunden. Mit einer atemberaubenden Technik und versierten Spielkunst kostete Tetzlaff den 30-minütigen Klangrausch bis ins Detail aus. Nonstop […] führte Tetzlaff sein Instrument in neue Klangzonen, öffnete und schloss diametral angelegte Teile...

Stefan Keim, Welt online 19.09.07

Jörg Widmanns Violinkonzert uraufgeführt

...Christian Tetzlaff, der sich in die Riege der international führenden Violinisten herauf gearbeitet hat, taucht mit großer Konzentration in eine fließende Klangsphäre ein. […] Die Violine beginnt einen zärtlichen Dialog mit einem Horn, die Instrumente flirten […]

Harald Eggebrecht, SZ, 19.09.2007

Großes Geigenlied

...Christian Tetzlaff spielte mit bewunderungswürdiger Konzentration und wahrer Hingabe. […] Der Solist hält Widmanns Konzert für ein Herzstück, das er „ab jetzt immer im Rucksack dabeihat“ […]

Christan Tetzlaff und Alexander Lonquich / Wigmore Hall London/ Beethoven Sonata Cycle / 1. 2. & 3. April 2007

Annette Morreau, The Independent:

 ... Christian Tetzlaff and Alexander Lonquich, however, were that rare thing: Beethoven communicated like a laser gun....

... Tetzlaff’s exuberant playing was marvelous in the Op 12s, matched equally by Lonquich’s radiant touch. It takes such maturity to play simply, nonchalantly, naively, sensitive to every dynamic and harmonic twist. Lonquich and Tetzlaff played together in total unity of approach, each able to increase intensity at the drop of a dynamic, a slight smile playing on Lonquich’s face in reaction to the perfection of the music....

Paul Driver, The Sunday Times, 8 April 2007

...Their rapport was thrilling and heartwarming, all the more to be relished when their parts were in syncopation and they brought out their rhythmic differences with witty aplomb; though the subtlest thing of all was the way this and a host of nuances were never quite the same when sections were repeated. Wit — as in the ending of the second sonata, where the piano continues after what seems the final cadence — and profundity are closely allied in this music, as the players made us realise anew.“...

Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra / Venzago, Indianapolis am 19. und 20 Januar 2007

The Indianapolis Star INDYSTAR.COM

Violinist blows audience away

...German violinist Christian Tetzlaff made quite a comeback with his first ISO appearance in about 15 years. He gave a Beethoven Violin concerto performance that simply seemed to blow the audience away...

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment/ Jurowski/ Birmingham am 27. Januar 2007

Financial Times:

... The Mendelssohn is so often played that it has almost lost meaning. Not in Christian Tetzlaff’s hands: he unpicked every cliché in a reading very much of the moment. Tempi were uncommonly fast – the notes vanishing at point of contact – but there was still time to notice the mercurial sweep of the outer movements and the subtle variation of note-lengths in the Andante. If there was no sentimental lingering, there was also no showmanship. Tetzlaff’s light touch on the bow – shades of Milstein – banished memories of the pyrotechnic modern school. It was a revelation, taking me back to my first encounter with this music. It was that inspiring.....

Metropolitan Opera Orchestra / James Levine in New York am 14. Januar 2007

NY Times:

Serious German Violinist Gets a Rock Star Ovation

... But the concert is likely to be remembered most for the exhilarating performance of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, with Christian Tetzlaff as soloist. This serious-minded 40-year-old German musician seemed somewhat dazed by the rock star ovation that erupted after his stunning performance.....


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