Magazine article Musical Opinion

Virtuoso Violin Festival: Stratford-upon-Avon

Magazine article Musical Opinion

Virtuoso Violin Festival: Stratford-upon-Avon

Article excerpt

The eleventh Bach-Paganini Festival for violinists, under the direction of its founder, Dr Rimma Sushanskaya, made the finest possible impression at the participants' final recital in the Levi Fox Hall of King Edward VI School at StratfordUpon-Avon on August 1 1 . The most remarkable aspect, perhaps, of this festival is that it takes place at all, with participants drawn from all over the world for up to ten days of very intensive rehearsal and study prior to the final Recital and orchestral Concert on August 13. The standard of these young players - some as young as 12 - is breathtaking: there can surely be no other group of violinists in the world of a similar age to surpass those we heard on August 1 1. As if to emphasise the quality of the Festival, the Administrator, Charlotte Beresford, opened the recital herself with finely-played movement from Bach's G minor Solo Sonata BWV 1001. There cannot be too many Festival Administrators who can equal Ms Beresford's artistry in unaccompanied Bach!

Lia Tang (from China) followed with Vleuxtemps' Ballade and Polonaise Opus 38, accompanied by Steve Collison, who partnered the accompanied works throughout the recital with commendable artistry. Ms Tang, all of 12 years old, has the spark of quality about her playing to the extent that we look forward to hearing her in years to come during what will surely grow into an important career. Marianne Drobot was deeply affecting in the Romance from Wieniawski's D minor Concerto and Emma Lee's absorbed mastery and virtuosity in the finale of Dvorak's A minor Concerto were simply astonishing - the more so in the light of the extreme technical demands the composer makes of the violinist in that movement.

Taisiya Koroleva, in the first movement her fellow-Russian Julius Konyus's Concerto in E minor was of such excellence as to make one realise the genuine quality of the work as never before in one's experience: in her hands, it became a forgotten masterpiece. …

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