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<<  -- 4 --  Howard Smith    PIVOTAL OCCASION

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However, the note -- whatever it said, worked. After spoken, somewhat stentorian introductions announced from an on-stage microphone; the orchestra struck up both national anthems; The Kazakh, and The Queen. From then on both soloist and conductor were repeatedly introduced by name. When Bisengaliev first appeared in a knee-length white coat, he was greeted with sustained applause.

And from that entrance onward he held the audience transfixed. For a start Vitali's Chaccone was poised; delivered in scrupulous, measured, serene style; a dramatic contrast to Sarasate's Zigeunerweisen. Bisengaliev launched into this bold favourite with fiery, sparkingly-moulded figurations topped off by the lovely muted bridge passage with it's final melting pianissimo; very few violinists bring this hushed passage off so magically. His galvanizing, fleet-fingered final romp simply left the packed auditorium breathless.

In contrast the yearning poem of Kazakh composer, Mukan Tulebayev found a gentler response from this audience.

Though Bisengaliev has 80+ concertos at his command the shorter items of Sarasate, Ravel, Tulebayev, Paganini/Milstein and Elgar could hardly have been more appropriate on a festive occasion such as this.

Even members of the RPO who've seen it all, appeared in awe at the explosive frisson he brought to the taxing rhapsodic solo pages of Ravel's Tzigane while his sheer gypsy abandon in the closing pages had the Almaty audience spellbound.

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Copyright © 23 June 2002 Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand

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