Maxim Vengerov’s recent return to the United States won over audiences and critics alike at the Ravinia Festival on July 15 and 17. John von Rhein of the Chicago Tribune once again led the acclaim for Vengerov’s interpretation of Britten’s Violin Concerto, restating his initial praise from 20 years prior, “If Vengerov is not the finest talent of his generation, I don’t know who is.”

“Fingers and bow moving at a seemingly impossible speed, he gave the Prokofiev-like Vivace a propulsive drive that was tremendously exciting: You half-expected the instrument…to burst into flame,” he wrote, adding, “Given performances as vital as this, Britten’s shamefully neglected concerto will not languish in obscurity much longer.”

“Vengerov went straight to the music and made this entirely a tale of harmony, melody and structure,” noted Andrew Ratner of the Chicago Sun-Times, while Lawrence A. Johnson of The Classical Review wrote that “Vengerov was clearly in synch with this enigmatic work, bringing incisive virtuosity to the bursts of spiky agitation and terraced dynamics to the more introspective pages. The soloist underlined the Shostakovich influence in the cadenzas and conveyed the searching expression of the concluding Passacaglia, finding a degree of solace in the bleakly hushed coda.”

Vengerov’s next concerts take him to Brussels and the Verbier Festival. For more information, click here.