Roulades of passion
Oleh Krysa and Tatiana Tchekina
at London's Wigmore Hall,
reviewed by BILL NEWMAN
London's Wigmore Hall played host to one of the world's leading violinists, the Ukrainian-American Oleh Krysa who performed with his wife, the Moscow-born Tatiana Tchekina. This is the first time I have head them play live, although I am familiar with Krysa's recorded output on the BIS, Melodiya, Triton and Russian Disc labels, mainly in 20th century repertoire which includes works especially written for him.
Two, dedicated to 'O Krysa and T Tchekina', featured in the Wigmore Hall recital on 16 May 2005: the first by Virko Baley (born 1938), saturated by the Ukrainian dance elements which surround the meditations and key images of the Partita. Thus, in Partita 3 we have the intricacies of the Intrada -- a rhetorical monologue for solo violin. Scorrevole is a will'o the wisp, Duma a lyrical interlude, Capriccio a crazy waltz and Rondo-Hopak derives probably from Mussorgsky's famous Hopak from Sorotchinski Fair, the fame of which spread into Western Europe. The overall speed of the whole work escaped my sense of logic, and I would wish to hear it again.
Four years Baley's senior, Sydney Hodkinson completed Allez-Y! Scherzo Frenetique on 11 May 1944 in Ormond-By-the-Sea, Florida. The composer became friends with Mr and Mrs Krysa at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. It was inspired by Krysa's recordings of Paganini, Ravel, Wieniawski, etc. Its entertainment value is obvious at just one hearing!
At the start of the programme Krysa paid homage to Bach in the famous Chaconne from the Third Partita. Agreeing partly with my violinist concert colleague, he sounded rather tired, but to be fair his violin tone seemed coarse, maybe from a lack of resin on the bow. Poulenc's prophetic Sonata, one time recorded by Menuhin and Clifford Curzon and associated with Lorca's memory and the tragic deaths of Ginette and Jean Neveu, retained its stark message of tragedy based on Lorca's quotation: 'The guitar makes dreams weep.'
I loved the performance of Ravel's Tzigane. The cheapness of so many extrovert renderings was here entirely absent, the tensions held back until the long, spiraling piano entry that causes the temperature to rise steadily for the final roulades of passion gone beserk.