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 The Musician was Playing the Violin...


On the 17th of March the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory served a stage to the concert of Victor Tretyakov (violin) within the festival, dedicated to the 90th anniversary of the famous Soviet music professor Yuri Yankelevitch.. In the concert there participated Great Academic Symphony Orchestra named after Tchaikovsky under the baton of Ivan Spiller. Tretyakov performed Tchaikovskys concerto for violin and orchestra, Ravels rhapsody Gypsy, E. Schossons poem for violin and orchestra and K. Saint-Saens introduction and rondo-capriccioso for violin and orchestra.


This is Victor Tretyakovs third performance on the Moscow stage this month. During two previous ones the violinist seemed not to fully express himself: either keeping the potential back or just not in the mood, so to say. But in the latest concert maestro has fully made up for everything underpaid before, having played with dazzling shine and having exposed all his best qualities.

Tretyakov has a rare gift to unravel completely new facets in the most hackneyed pieces. Performing this or that kind of music the violinist has enough talent to look upon it with a fresh, new approach, free from adhering to traditions (very characteristic of modern performing many violin pieces) or own cliches. 

Surprisingly enough, Tretyakov almost never repeats his musical findings. From the instrumental standpoint, he really plays in his own style and never misses the chance to emphasize it (by the way, Tretyakovs instrumental style has soaked in all the best features of what is often referred to as Yankelevitch school). However, in purely musical sense his style is an interminable quest, constant and invariably successful attempts to hear everything afresh, which, its worth mentioning, are always a success with the audience.

It is no surprising, since during his concerts Tretyakov almost hypnotizes the audience. His playing, often breaking all ideas about the pieces being performed, immediately offers a new and persuasive variant of interpretation, which wouldnt fail to appeal to you due to its freshness, sincerity and charm.

Tretyakovs latest performance brought about the incarnation of everything the best the musician can carry to the listener. As it has been already mentioned, he seldom repeats himself. So was this time with Tchaikovskys Violin Concerto which was performed absolutely afresh. This time Tretyakov decided to make it more reserved emotionally, more compact and more boisterous.

For the justice sake, it should be pointed out that from time to time Tretyakov goes too far in his findings and sometimes his taste does betray him. It seldom spoils the impression of the whole concert, but is often quite an unexpected and unpleasant surprise. At the latest concert, however, the maestro was immaculate. Unfortunately, the subtlety of his phrasing remained slightly unintelligible for the orchestra, therefore, many findings in the violin part, well heard and clearly distinctive to the attentive listener, on the whole sounded blurred on the account of the less responsive accompaniment.

The second movement of the concerto was absolutely free from exuberant emotions, many performers tend to overload the piece with. Tretyakov played it intentionally plain, without a single excessive accent or tempo increase (what is characteristic of many performers meaning to emphasize their musicality). Besides, Tretyakov managed to establish the form of the second movement exclusively nicely, due to what the coming of the finale was being prepared quietly, unattended and became almost a surprise even for those who are well familiar with the piece.

In the finale Tretyakov eagerly demonstrated his technical skills, which were clearly foregrounded by the orchestra trudging somewhere after the soloist. Only the Maestros ensemble knack didnt let the orchestra move away from him more than a quarter, since both the orchestrants and the conductor showed no worry even in the most dangerous places. Tretyakov had to change spiccato to detache only because the orchestra did his best to decrease the tempo. Such flexibility of the soloist is beyond all praises, however, it remains unclear, why such a notorious and regarded as the best in Moscow orchestra can be so careless to the accompaniment, the more so, Tchaikovskys Violin Concerto is one of the most frequently played pieces from the violin repertoire. 

It is worth mentioning that many problems could have been avoided with the conductors initiative. Ivan Spillers gestures were smooth and calm even in the most tense moments of the piece. As if he were not at all interested in what was happening on the stage. At any rate, neither the soloist nor the orchestra found any support with Spiller. Victor Tretyakov can really lead the orchestra when the conductor cant. Unfortunately, besides other advantages, the orchestra have but obedient character, so in order to make them play in this way, and not that one, Tretyakov had to seriously strain himself up and it wasnt always positive. And the conductor remained almost helpless, what was quite irritating. 

The second part of the concert began with the performance of the rhapsody for violin and orchestra Gypsy. Ravels wonderful instrumentation in this piece usually speaks for itself, it is so well-done that almost doesnt require any special effort from the part of the orchestra. At the same time Tretyakovs violin was sparking with such bright colors, timber variety was so impressive that in this background the orchestra sounded surprisingly poor.

Tretyakov has performed Schosson's poem at one of his recent concerts in Moscow, but this time the performance has left incomparably brighter impression.The composer's opus is quite difficult as to form and besides, in order to be performed really well, the performer must combine a number of different qualities.Technically hard moments require full sounding of all the notes, it is impossible here to disguise this or that failure with quick tempo and a number of passages. With Tretyakov, however, all this can be called only potential difficulties. He doesn't seem to face any technical problems, so the audience could enjoy Schosson's wonderful music at the most.

To crown it all, Tretyakov ended the concert with another hit of violin repertoire Saint-Saenss Introduction and Rondo-Capriccioso. Brilliant vivid music found a wonderful interpreter in this violinist. Tretyakov made the audience revel in music, listen through every note, seize every sound. The themes of this music cant be called too varied (what certainly makes it no worse), so the interpreter like Tretyakov is really a happy find for such a piece! What exactly appeals is the scrupulous attention Tretyakov attaches to every phrase. His fantasy, due to which no two phrases sound alike, on the one hand, and a good taste, which never allows the violinist to take to the banal playing with the public, on the other, made this performance one of the best ever heard in the Great Hall. 

On the whole, Id like to mention again that this concert has rated among Tretyakovs most impressive performances recently given in Moscow. The violinist has once again proved to be one of the most conspicuous masters of today and its exceptionally pleasant to point out that he played to the sold out audience. In such cases one usually wants as many people as possible to hear what is happening on the stage. Musicians of such a rank dont pamper the audience with their appearance on the stage too often, but Tretyakov is a pleasant exception. It remains only to hope that such concerts will take place in Moscow further on and will be as successful as this one.

 Boris Lifanovsky


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