On Monday evening at Alice Tully Hall, the Japanese early-music maestro Masaaki Suzuki conducted an orchestra and chorus made up of students and recent alumni from the Juilliard School and the Royal Academy of Music, London, in two of Bach’s sacred cantatas: No. 11, “Lobet Gott in Seinen Reichen” (“Praise God in His Kingdoms”), and No. 75, “Die Elenden Sollen Essen” (“The Meek Shall Eat”). Mr. Suzuki stepped aside for a performance of Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins in D minor (BWV 1043), leaving the coordination to the concertmaster for the evening, the star violinist Rachel Podger, and the two excellent soloists, Davina Clarke and Carrie Krause....The solo violinists were well matched, although Ms. Clarke is already a busy professional on the London scene. They added lively, unobtrusive melodic embellishments and, in the absence of a conductor, interacted meaningfully with their orchestral counterparts.
After the intermission, the Concerto in D minor for two violins BWV1043 was joyful, led by soloists Davina Clarke and Carrie Krause. Although the two took individual liberties as soloists, with many differences in interpretation, style and articulation, they both played with energy and character, and the overall effect was quite lovely. Krause’s sound was, unfortunately, a bit forced throughout but Clarke played with extremely beautiful and pure tone. The closing work, the Ascension Oratorio ‘Lobet Gott in seine Reichen’ BWV11, was stellar. The joyous opening gave way to many tender moments and overall the performance reflected the text well.
I was immediately struck by Davina’s innate musicianship, her violinistic prowess, her passionate engagement and seriousness of purpose, and her rare but surefooted sense of style. Added to that was the most priceless attribute of all - a manifest willingness to learn, to imbibe and to assimilate [She plays] with authority, charm and conviction - and a beguiling beauty of tone.
I know few young musicians in Davina’s field with such capacity for artistic improvement, development and total commitment [...] In my view, she is set to become an eminent and highly versatile British ‘period’ violinist.
Davina is a very talented violinist who plays with an innate musical confidence and charisma. She is a flexible musician with plenty to say and the ability to communicate this well to an audience.