Itzhak Perlman and Emanuel Ax at Ravinia Review – The Perfect Pair

With summer ending, it is lovely to continue to have the opportunity to experience outstanding performances at Ravinia.  It is a way to extend the feeling of summer.  My companion and I were delighted to take advantage of the after Labor Day programming and had the opportunity of seeing two amazing performers, Itzhak Perlman, violin and Emanuel Ax, Piano. 


Inside the Ravinia gate,photo: B. Keer

I saw Emanuel Ax in concert at Symphony Center not long ago but I had not seen Itzhak Perlman in person.  Seeing the two of them together was an amazing treat.


Before the performance, photo: B. Keer

My companion was intrigued by the two full heads of grey hair, which were very noteworthy as the monitor brought these two performers into full view.  The camera angles were very good and provided an excellent view of both players. Looking at the stage directly, Perlman tended to block Ax.


Crowds on the lawn, photo: B. Keer

The monitor also allowed the audience a clear view of Perlman’s facial expressions, which enhanced the music.  The synchrony of the two players, their bodies moving together and the richness of their blended tones thrilled the audience.  The audience not only filled the pavilion, but also extended on to the lawns in every direction.  Of course, Ravinia is a great place to meet and greet both people one has planned to meet as well as those that are a surprise, which is also a special aspect of a Ravinia visit.


Emanuel Ax

Having wandered through the park to our seats in the Pavillion, my companion and I were seated and ready for the program to begin. Included were works by Mozart, Fauré and Strauss and additional numbers announced from the stage  - works by Shuman, and Kreisler.


Mozart - Violin Sonata in C major, K. 296

Fauré - Violin Sonata No. 1 in A Major, Op. 13

R. Strauss - Violin Sonata in E-flat Major, TrV 151


In each of the works, both of the performers were perfection, individually and jointly. The sounds were so varied that it seemed to emminate from a wide range of instruments.  In the Violin Sonata in C major, K. 296, the playing seemed more individual, compared to the other pieces.  


Itazhk Perlman

The work by Fauré, the Violin Sonata No.1 in A Major, Op. 13, was exquisite and romantic.  As Ax and Perlman performed, these two figures moved as one.  Their movements were fluid and beautiful accompanying the beautiful sounds they were creating.


The Strauss Violin Sonata in E-flat Major, TrV 151 was also romantic and beautiful. The audience loved all of this.  The announcements of the Shuman and Kreisler numbers were presented humorously and the works were lighter and charming.


Emanuel Ax and Itzhk Perlman

This is an important year for both performers.  For Emmanuel Ax, this season marked the 40th anniversary of his Ravinia debut.  For Itzhak Perlman, this is the beginning of his 70th year, his birthday was a few days earlier.


The performance that night was stunning.  What a pair-the wonderful white hair and the perfect synchronization.  I was thrilled to be able to enjoy the gorgeous music on this lovely, cool, evening.


Photos: Courtesy of the Ravinia Festival unless otherwise noted.

Ravinia performances continue through out the year. Check the Ravina website



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