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Concert Review: Edson Scheid ’11 MM, ’12 AD with Juilliard415

Review of violinist Edson Scheid '11 MM, '12 AD: "Scheid's polished playing was the high point of the programme."
February 5, 2014

The Strad
By Dennis Rooney

Concert Review: Edson Scheid, violin; Juilliard415; Nicholas McGegan, conductor
Alice Tully Hall, 4 November, 2013

Known to both Bach and Telemann,  Johann Georg Pisendel was an important 18th-century musician, leader of the Dresden Court Orchestra from 1730 until his death in 1755 and regarded as the leading German violinist of his day. He produced ten violin concertos. Nevertheless, he is an obscure figure to modern listeners, and this was my first encounter with his Violin Concerto in D major, performed by Edson Scheid [’11 MM, ’12 AD], a 29-year-old Brazilian who is currently pursuing a graduate diploma in historical performance at Juilliard. Formed in 2009,  Juilliard415 is that school’s principal period-instrument ensemble (named after the frequency of its tuning pitch), and it fielded 27 players at this concert, using a mix of period reproductions and a few modern instruments.

Scheid’s polished playing was the high point of the programme, which focused on composers whose careers centred on Dresden and Berlm. Works of Zelenka and Benda preceded the Pisendel and were enterprisingly rather than perfectly played. Scheid clearly enjoyed exploring the concerto’s formal novelties, such as the fast-slow-fast opening movement in the shape of a miniature Italian overture,  the expressivity of the succeeding Larghetto and the spirited Allegro finale.  His performance was enriched by semi-improvised ornamentation, following the composer’s own practice. Conductor Nicholas McGegan led the ensemble in an entirely satisfying account.

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