Anna-Liisa Bezrodny & Olga Sitkovetsky at Wigmore Hall

Sonata No.3 in C minor for Violin and Piano, Op.45

Anna-Liisa Bezrodny (violin) & Olga Sitkovetsky (piano)

Reviewed by: Kenneth Carter

Reviewed: 24 June, 2008
Venue: Wigmore Hall, London

Anna-Liisa BezrodnyAnna-Liisa Bezrodny is outstanding – technically brilliant and interpretatively virile. She is no mere performer: she is a real and true musician.

In this early-evening recital, given under the auspices of the Razumovsky Academy, all this was established in the first few bars of the Grieg Sonata. It begins with a explosion from the violin – dark, guttural and quite a shock. A less gritty but still highly romantic statement follows, softer and more flowing, more as might be expected. In lesser hands a vacuum would have followed, leaving the initial, growling statement, isolated from the rest of the movement. Bezrodny, however, integrated everything skilfully and deftly into the main thrust of the movement.

Overtly, Grieg’s C minor Violin Sonata is more formal than its predecessors, sounding less nationalistic and rather more Germanic, exhibiting Grieg’s training in Leipzig (“…a significant part of my individuality can be traced back to my Germanisation – for it cannot be found in our Norwegian ancestry”). It is a stern work, less tuneful – more personal and less desirous to please. Its sterling feature is its integrity. Dark passion and softer, more melodious moods follow each other throughout the work, in counterpoint, putting often quite subtle and fleeting interpretative demands upon the players – the violinist in particular.

Bezrodny’s performance was gripping and assured, over-arching and yet keenly responsive to the flickering shades and shadows of moods. She gave the work the performance it deserved.

Ravel’s Tzigane is light-years away; urbane, highly civilized and in the supremely detached idiom of one of the most intelligent of all composers. Moreover, it is fiendishly difficult.

All this was well within Bezrodny’s grasp. Her playing is impassioned and has a surging pulse. Yet she has a clear head and is capable of coolly calculating her effects without losing spontaneity. When appropriate, she plays at white heat, thrillingly. Finally, she has a superb technique – meting out Ravel’s toughest technical requirements.

Throughout, Olga Sitkovetsky accompanied suitably, being somewhat retiring.

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