Herald Scotland: Violin Piano Recital Review

Nicola Benedetti in Recital, Perth Concert Hall

Michael Tumelty

Five stars

I HAVE no idea what went on in the run-up to the opening night on Friday of Nicola Benedetti’s weekend residency in Perth, but there were significant changes to the violinist’s recital programme with her pianist, Alexei Grynyuk. Thank goodness. The concert was scheduled to open with Beethoven’s almighty Kreutzer Sonata, follow that with a graceful Mozart Sonata, and end with Brahms’ A major Sonata.

From the moment I heard that, I reckoned the programme was in trouble. The Kreutzer is a colossal sonata: It’s un-followable. It would have wiped the Mozart, as lovely as it is, off the face of the planet: Beethoven does not take prisoners. So the Kreutzer went last, climactically. The changes were for the better, in programme-balance and deployment of content. And there was more. Out went the Brahms A major and in came the same composer’s G major Sonata. Suddenly the programme was alive with complementary moods.
How late these changes were made I know not – pretty late, to judge from the onstage announcement of the re-ordering immediately before the show. No matter: everything, and performers, I suspect, benefited. It all felt right; and Benedetti and Grynyuk took off to the stars.

The ensuing performances gleamed with life and spirit: Mozart’s K377 Sonata (if that was the right one!) had lovely qualities of grace and playfulness, cleanly-played, the Brahms glowed -I melted at the gorgeousness of the slow movement, which was like a soft warm breath – while the stupendous performance of the Kreutzer had wings; and the performers’ nerves held rock-steady in a long hiatus when a member of the audience was taken ill.


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