Valeriy Sokolov and Eric Ferrand-N'Kaoua
play Bach, Beethoven, Schumann,
Enescu and Prokofiev,
heard by BILL NEWMAN
The young Kharkov born violinist Valeriy Sokolov studied at The Yehudi Menuhin School and won a Grand Prix for his performance of the Beethoven Concerto at the Enescu Competition. He was also ajudged to have given the finest performance of the Romanian composer's Third Sonata. French pianist Eric Ferrand-N'Kaoua was Finalist and prize winner at the Clara Haskil and Santander Competitions. He was invited to the Yokohama Piano Festival when twenty, and has performed in Russia and other European countries. The collaboration with Sokolov began in Paris, last year.
Bach's famous Chaconne from the Partita in D minor was a beautifully bowed performance, the bow itself at a perfect right angle to the strings. Although it was impressive, it lacked the insight of the young Armenian artist Khachatryan heard earlier at the Wigmore Hall. Beethoven's Romance No 2 in F in the violin and piano arrangement was similarly endowed with restrained passion, but I missed the weighty orchestral backing. Schumann's Fantasy in C major, Op 131 in the Fritz Kreisler arrangement is rarely played but a product of the Viennese artist's clever and delightful way of not only resurrecting the piece, but making it a joy to listen to through his fashion for nuance and genius in articulation.
Enescu's Violin Sonata No 3 in A minor, Op 25 'dans le caractere populaire roumain' was a quite magnificent performance, on a different level entirely from Yehudi and Hephzibah Menuhin and more recent performers of the work. I was hearing detail as if for the very first time from both artists. Prokofiev's Violin Sonata No 2 in D major was also very fine, which leads me to suggest that Sokolov and N'Kaoua's sympathies are strongest for twentieth century music, at least on this particular hearing [13 May 2008, Wigmore Hall, London UK].
Copyright © 25 August 2008
Bill Newman, Edgware UK