A recital by Bálint Székely and Mariko Kondo,
heard by BILL NEWMAN
My first thought [Wigmore Hall, London UK, 4 July 2008] was one of muted response, but then I considered the programme contents and makeup. The Vitali Chaconne is the foil that throws attention onto the violin. The pianist has little to contribute, except for balancing her correct weight of tone in favour of her partner. Although it is a difficult piece to begin a programme with, here the correct deference worked well enough.
The sets of dances by Brahms (Hungarian Dances 1, 2 and 5, arranged by Joachim) and Bartók (Hungarian Folkdances, arranged by Szigeti), however, brightened the atmosphere through the skill and versatility of their arrangers -- the better known, Joachim, obviously, but my old friend Szigeti shone with even more lustre, particularly following the vivid impressions I had gleaned from the fascinating conversations I experienced many years before during restaurant-café conversations which Joska imparted in my direction during the late 1960s.
The Franck Sonata was very musical -- never rushed, but always clearly phrased with an especially lovely performance of the slow movement and finale.
Copyright © 1 December 2008
Bill Newman, Edgware UK