Concert review

Alexander Sitkovestsky (violin) Wu Qian (piano)

9th November 2023

The recital in Penrith Methodist Church by Alexander Sitkovetsky (violin) and Wu Qian (piano) delved into the highly attractive and varied French repertoire of Fauré, Ravel and Franck. Their performances exhibited stellar musicianship and engaged the audience from start to finish in an atmosphere of committed and euphoric music making.

The exuberance and lyricism of Fauré’s First Violin Sonata were embraced by these gifted artists: Alexander Sitkovetsky produced a constant stream of alluring tone from his 1679 Stradivari violin while Wu Qian contributed endless turns of phrase that kept the music alive. Ravel’s Tzigane is a fun virtuoso piece that brings the gipsy (plus a dose of Paganini) into the concert hall. Few violinists have the technique or temperament to cope with its demands; fortunately for us Alexander Sitkovetsky is one of the few and dazzled everyone with an effortless display of pyrotechnics and humour.

César Franck wrote his Violin Sonata late in life,1886, and players have been grateful ever since. As an equal partnership between violin and piano it is unique. On this occasion it received as near-perfect a performance as one could have wished. The opening Allegretto settled into reflective calm before the stormy second movement brought the most fiery playing from both performers. The fantasy of the third movement was poised and poetic;  the well known canon that drives the finale plus the rousing coda ended an evening of special music making.

World class musicians Alexander Sitkovetsky and Wu Qian were born in Moscow and Shanghai respectively; a fortunate audience were grateful they finally made it to Penrith.

John Upson

Updated on 10th April 2024
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