Lucid Culture


Concert Review: Duo Figer-Khanina at Trinity Church, NYC 2/25/10

Introducing the Duo Figer-Khanina, Trinity Church’s organist said they’d put some warmth into a blustery day – they lived up to that expectation, and more. Violinist Guy Figer and pianist Anna Khanina dedicate themselves to “popularizing rarely played repertoire,” as they put it, which immediately earned them bonus points here. Seeing how they did it proved even more auspicious. This time out they seamlessly tackled two piano-and-violin numbers from the standard repertoire as well as two that deserve to be but aren’t. Schubert’s famous, sprightly Sonatine No. 1 was effortlessly jaunty. In places, notably the twinkling, nocturnal second movement, it was next to impossible to tell who was playing what, testament to the chemistry onstage. By contrast, Khanina roared her way through the more powerful segments of another chamber music standby, Beethoven’s Sonata No. 7, Op. 30 with an almost reckless, percussive attack, a vivid contrast with Figer’s warm, sailing approach.

But the real treats were the obscure material. 20th century Polish violinist/composer Grazyna Bacewicz’ Sonata No. 4 was a delectable discovery, opening rigorously with jarring, modernist tonalities arranged in traditional, often contrapuntal classical architecture. The obdurate quasi-waltz of a second movement recalled Messiaen in its obstinate refusal to offer any kind of resolution; Bacewicz’ fellow Eastern European Leos Janacek came to mind later on, particularly in the otherworldly anthem that takes shape in the final movement (which built to a stubborn catchiness that would have been perfectly at home in a mid-80s rock anthem by Peter Gabriel). The duo closed with post-Romantic Russian composer Joseph Achron’s marvelous Hebrew Melody, a vividly plaintive, Chopinesque tune that grew cinematic with Figer’s swirling, nebulous flights up to a spine-tingling candenza downward, then ending all starlit and haunting. What an unexpected treat to catch them here, especially as Trinity is phasing out their concert series. They’ll be on European tour next month with the Arcos Chamber Orchestra, returning with a New York concert on May 21 at the Yamaha Concert Salon.

February 26, 2010 Posted by | classical music, concert, Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment