Slava Sidorenko at Wigmore Hall

Piano Sonata in E flat, Hob. 52
Fantasy in C, Op.17
Sonata for Piano
Piano Sonata No.2 in B flat minor, Op.36 [Revised Version]

Slava Sidorenko (piano)

Reviewed by: Francesco Burns

Reviewed: 8 October, 2009
Venue: Wigmore Hall, London

Slava SidorenkoThis was Ukrainian Slava Sidorenko’s debut recital at Wigmore Hall, a recent Gold Medal winner from the Royal Northern College of Music.

Playing on a Fazioli, Sidorenko managed to control the thick textural moments of Haydn’s final piano sonata, suggesting sensitivity to the type of instrument the work was conceived for. The outer movements fared best, the first elegantly poised, the repeat of the exposition bringing some witty articulation and pregnant pauses. The finale was understated in the overtly virtuosic passages and humorous at times.

Sidorenko impressed in Schumann’s Fantasy. His sense of line was beautifully shaped throughout the first movement, supported by some subtle shading. He launched into the second-movement ‘March’ with a sense of drive, and managed to hold the lengthy Adagio finale together.

The recital’s second half started with Stravinsky’s kaleidoscopic Sonata. Sidorenko overcame any percussive obstacles in the toccata-like first movement, allowing melodic fragments to shine through with ease. The Beethoven-inspired Adagietto wheezed into life and was decorated by some satisfyingly tight trills and ornamentation which became ever-increasingly insistent without becoming grating. The two-part invention in the third movement was overcome with muscular clarity, and maintained a cut-and-thrust propulsion throughout.

To close, Sidorenko opted for the 1931 revision of Rachmaninov’s Sonata No.2. He started promisingly, with appropriate weight on the first theme. The first movement was so well shaped and his personality continued to shine in the second movement, notably delaying the melody slightly after the beat, among other expressive devices, which was very moving. The finale was a little too measured, Sidorenko’s saving grace here being a deep, rich cantabile, which brought emotional weight. The concluding ‘big theme’ was a little polite, but overall this was a well-structured and carefully considered performance.

Scriabin’s Feuillet d’album (Opus 45/Number 1) was given as an encore, caressed in true Scriabinesque style.

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