Individual doesn’t yet describe James Rutherford. He is though a pleasingly musical singer, his lightish baritone is attractive and he doesn’t lay emotions on with a trowel. Phrasal ease and heartfelt utterance distinguished his two contributions, unforced and communicative, albeit greater penetration into the two characters portrayed would have been welcome, dinner jacket and recital notwithstanding.
The BBC’s ’New Generation’ scheme is thoughtfully managed. The artists chosen are not given a one-off opportunity to impress, they are presented with a programme of concerts and broadcasts over a period of time.
It will be interesting to hear Ilya Gringolts develop, as he surely will. He brought to Tchaikovsky’s concerto nothing more than where he is today, which, at 18, is hugely talented and confident. He’s himself – no attempt to sound like Heifetz or Milstein or any model he might have (a particular tone to characterise a phrase reminded me of Váša Príhoda), nor to play the concerto how he might in five or ten years time; he knows he will do that then.
There’s an attractive innocence to Gringolts’s playing and no lack of bravura – the cadenza was particularly impressive; it was his natural, unforced response that compelled, whether the spun line of the ’Canzonetta’, the finale’s fireworks or the first movement’s contrasts of lyricism and revelry, the latter impishly daredevil. Gringolts is a re-creative and imaginative musician who is surely destined for great things. He played the finale complete; those passages usually cut were here tweaked with dynamic division, a measure of Gringolts’s capacity. He couldn’t have had a better accompaniment than the one Slatkin prepared so carefully – full of detail and nuance – which spoke of genuine rapport.
- This concert is broadcast by BBC Radio 3 on Friday, 30 November, at 11.30 in the morning