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The concert was of very high standard for a cello competition, which shows that Kronberg deserves its place as one of the most important locations for discovering promising new talents. The program was as follows:
Beethoven: Sonata No 4 in C Op 102/1; Giorgi Kharadze, cello; Mara Mednik, piano
Graciane Finzi: Theme et Variations for solo cello; Laszlo Fenyoe
Debussy: Sonata for cello and piano in D minor; Sebastien van Kuijk and Reiko Hozu
Crumb: Sonata for solo cello; Tuomas Ylinen
Schumann: Adagio and allegro Op 170; Leonard Elschenbroich, cello; Dmitry Morozov, piano
Ligeti: Sonata for solo cello; Julian Steckel
Technically, Fenyoe was impressive, playing with the cool professionalism of someone who is already established in the business and used to public performances. A charismatic musician he is not, but this is made up for by his very charismatic instrument: an old and very expensive Gofriller cello (c1720-1740) producing a beauty of sound that modern celli are simply unable to match. The Hungarian plays with routine and, while sometimes during the previous evening he still seemed unsure of how to handle the big orchestra in the background, the matinée gave him more chance to show off his skills with Finzi's splendid work for violoncello solo. Fittingly, Fenyoe had taken home the special prize for the work's best interpretation. Applause for him was plenty that morning, and also for the composer Graciane Finzi whom he invited to join him on stage to take their bows. Overheard in the front rows during applause, a typical macho comment: 'Isn't it astonishing that a woman should have composed a work of this magnitude?'
Absolutely deserving of a special mention is pianist Mara Mednik's sensitive accompanying of Kharadze for the Beethoven Sonata. Mednik stems from St Petersburg and has been in the West for some ten years. She was previously the permanent accompanist in Boris Pergamenschikow's class at the Hanns Eisler Music Academy, and that Pergamenschikow had taught her a thing or two about how to make the student shine became very evident in the impressive partnership between Mednik and her cellist. She took great care not to dominate but to support the young man, and to use her piano to enhance the string instrument, sense and even out potential problems before they had a chance to occur. Not surprisingly, Mednik is in high demand and she has a major concert lined up with Julian Steckel in October in Munich.
Copyright © 11 September 2004
Tess Crebbin, Kronberg, Germany