Spanish violinist to make CSO debut


For Spanish violinist Francisco Fullana, Felix Mendelssohn’s violin concerto has long been one of his favorite works to perform.

“Mendelssohn’s piece has a lot of bubbly, excitement to it and it has a youth to it,” Fullana said. “In the first movement, there is depth and complexity of feelings to it. It’s an amazing combination. I’ve played it quite a few times. One of the first times was when I was 17. I played it with the late (conductor) Sir Colin Davis in Munich. It was one of the most memorable concerts I had as a teenager.”

Fullana will be the featured soloist in the “Star-Crossed Lovers” concert on Valentine’s weekend at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 10 at the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts.

“It’s one of the most incredible pieces ever written for a violin orchestra,” Fullana said. “It’s one of those pieces that no matter how many times you play it, it gets better and better. You feel very lucky being on stage playing this kind of music.”

The appearance is Fullana’s first with CSO, but he has played with David Commanday, who became the CSO’s music director in December.

“He’s a marvelous musician and a brilliant technical player as well,” Commanday said. “His sound is gorgeous. His performances really come across the footlights.”

Mendelssohn’s piece is perfect for Fullana’s CSO debut, according to Commanday.

“This is at the core of every great violinist’s repertoire,” Commanday said. “It’s such a spectacular concerto. If you want to talk about romantic music, this fits the bill in spades. The interesting thing about the concerto is it all flows one into the other. Mendelssohn wrote it without a full stop between the first and second and second and third movement. It still has the feeling of shape and form and beauty that has made it one of the most popular violin concertos ever written and performed.”

The second half of the show includes Sergio Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet Suite” and Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story: Symphonic Dances.”

The suite is from Prokofiev’s full-length ballet.

“It’s a magnificent ballet. It was my privilege and pleasure to conduct the full ballet,” Commanday said. “I consider it one of the greatest scores written for any stage. The psychology and power of the music supporting that tragic story is incomparable.”

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