By Lawrence Budmen


                                Italian-American violinist Roberto Cani drew a vociferous ovation from an excited audience Tuesday night at the Broward Center’s Amaturo Theater for his performance of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto , the centerpiece on the Symphony of the Americas’ Special Spotlight Performance of its 25th Anniversary Celebration Week. Winner of such prestigious musical prizes as the Paganini and Courcillon Competitions, Cani has studied at the Milan Conservatory, Moscow’s Gnessin Institute and the University of Southern California. He has concertized throughout the United States, Europe, Russia, Asia and South America and holds teaching positions in Italy and Croatia.


                                For sheer fire and soul, Cani’s traversal of the Tchaikovsky concerto was remarkable. Playing a treasured Pietro Guarneri instrument, Cani’s rich tone, fleet fingering and musical depth turned this well traveled repertoire warhorse into a freshly minted, deeply impassioned musical experience. The technical hurdles, which even the legendary Russian virtuosso Leopold Auer felt were impossible, held no terrors for Cani. His rich, warmly resonant tone and fleet fingering from his first entrance after the orchestral introduction took the full measure of the score. Cani’s deeply ruminative reading of the Andante (second movement) channeled elegiac sadness and pathos. He chose to play the original version of the Allegto vivacissimo finale rather than the  less technically challenging abbreviated edition that many violinists favor. Cani’s rapid fire performance was taken at fierce clip; yet there was no blurring of passage work. With the bravura coda, the audience roared its approval. As an encore, he assayed Paganini’s daunting Caprice No. 24, sailing through the double and triple stops with devil may care ease. His zesty rendition of the pizzicato section was stunning and utterly delightful. Recalling in many ways the technical wizzardry and superb musicianship of Tossy Spivakovsky, Cani is a terrific musician and an artist of true stature





                                While other orchestras and musical organizations have come and gone, the Symphony of the Americas has endured for a quarter century. The ensemble’s outreach efforts have won wide acclaim. With continued support, this fine organization will continue to offer excellent concerts and remain a vital part of the artistic community.



Redlands Symphony, violinist Roberto Cani perform at the Redlands Bowl


by Betty Tyler


The Redlands Symphony Orchestra served up several helpings of graceful, elegant music Friday night at the Redlands Bowl — with a sprinkling of humor and a large scoop of virtuosity.

The most obvious virtuosity came from violinist Roberto Cani, who soloed on Mendelssohn’s Violin Concert — more about that later.

After intermission came elegance and virtuosity of a different flavor, in Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto.

Cani, an Italian-born violinist who won the Paganini International Competition in Genoa when he was 21, was the soloist, and from his first note, he carried a sweet, powerful tone through the concerto.

He also made easy work of lots of difficult notes, making beautiful, exciting music of them.

For those familiar with classical music standards, the Mendelssohn concerto is an old friend. For those who may not have met the concerto before, Friday night’s performance was an easy, beautifully melodic introduction to it. What’s not to love in a Mendelssohn melody?

And the combination of Mendelssohn and Cani’s playing brought loud cheers from the audience as the music ended, with many people on their feet.

The audience cheered Cani back on stage for two encores, first a delightful performance of Fritz Kreisler’s “Liebesfreud” with the orchestra. That nearly brought a tear to my eye, partly because of the performance, but also because my father, who was an amateur violinist, enjoyed playing Kreisler. I can remember hearing him play “Liebesfreud” (“Love’s Joy”) in the living room at home when I was a child, with my mother accompanying him on the piano.

Cani’s “Liebesfreud” with the Redlands Symphony, of course, was miles beyond my parents’ living room rendition, but the memory does add something to the music.

Cani’s final encore was Paganini’s Caprice No. 24, a brilliant, exciting piece that shows off just about everything the violin can do — and Cani did.

It was the perfect burst of musical fireworks to end the evening.