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Highly Charged

A recital by Daniel Kuzmin
and Alberto Portugheis,
reviewed by MALCOLM MILLER


The strident effluerescence of two gems of the violin piano repertoire regaled a large audience at the fourth concert in the BPSE Regent Hall Summer Festival series on 5 August 2008, given by the young violinist Daniel Kuzmin and Alberto Portugheis.

The series is an ideal platform for young artists, as we saw in this recital which began with Beethoven's evergreen 'Spring' Sonata, in which the drama and propulsion of the outer movements was balanced by an appealing delicacy and 'innigkeit' in the second movement and gentle wit in the Scherzo. Kuzmin's confident projection of the beautiful first movement melody was matched by admirable rhythmic control throughout, even in the more turbulent -- in this reading -- transition and development section, against the piano's volatile dynamic ebb and flow. Kuzmin displayed much colour and subtlety in the Adagio, with a supple and expressive dialogue between the players that, together with the sprightly imitation of the chirpy Scherzo, highlighted the work's true chamber music spirit. Aside from the unexpected silences, the finale flowed with forthright tonal qualities and many microcosmic inflections in Portugheis' melodic phrasing.

Their interpretation of Franck's Violin Sonata was coloured by a highly charged energy and passion, which, if at times rough hewn, caught the mood of this Romantic warhorse with aplomb. Despite a certain bumpiness of texture in the second movement, Kuzmin here allowed his tone to soar, against the piano's vigorous and virtuoso swirling. There was respite in the slow third movement's hesitant yet sensuous dialogues, where depth of emotion emerged from Alberto Portugheis' expressive emphasis of almost each and every dissonant suspension. Kuzmin rose to the challenge of the finale, playing with full toned vibrancy in the genial melody shared with the intensely shaded piano.

Clearly the young violinist, currently pursuing advanced studies at the Brussels Conservatoire, has plenty of room to grow and develop, yet his performance here, in this admirable alchemic partnership with Alberto Portugheis, displayed both promise and panache.

Copyright © 9 August 2008 Malcolm Miller, London UK



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