Anyone looking for musical fire would have found it at Royce Hall, where violinist Isabella Lippi and the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra gave a sizzling account of Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto.
With almost frenzied determination, the 20-year-old USC student brought burning intensity and fervent passion to the familiar work Sunday afternoon. She exhibited flawless bow control, dazzling listeners with her technical polish and her clean, articulate playing. Her sound, vibrant and penetrating, easily filled the hall, yet she could also produce spellbinding pianissimos. Indeed, the expressive lyricism of her cantabile playing proved captivating.
Under conductor Lalo Schifrin, the orchestra provided enthusiastic support, though at times ensemble precision suffered.
Just as the Tchaikovsky Concerto is a workout for a virtuoso violinist, Stravinksy's "Le Sacre du Printemps" is a workout for a virtuoso orchestra. Explosive accents, a bold, assertive brass sound, masterfully executed wind solos and stunningly accurate playing all around made the performance absolutely electrifying. While the median dynamic level seemed a bit louder than normal--rarely did one hear a true pianissimo--Schifrin maintained fine balances between sections; this reading was at all times remarkably transparent.
The program opened with a spirited but rhythmically scrappy reading of the overture to Mozart's "Cosi fan Tutte."