KVT – Romance and Romany

KVT – Romance and Romany

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Thank you L’Espace for kick starting the Recitals and Performances by renowned overseas artists so smoothly and excitingly.

When celebrated Romanian violinist, Clara Cernat, appeared on stage there was a gasp of appreciation. Her fabulous pale blue and white dress, her luscious blonde hair, her beaming smile hinted at the fire and passion that was to come.

She, together with equally celebrated and equally disarming French pianist, Thierry Huillet, gave us an unforgettable evening of violin and piano pieces, mainly from late 19th century French composers who gave violin sonatas a new prominence in the musical world. They began with Faure’s Sonata opus 13, the first of his two sonatas for violin and piano. The five movements were engrossing and that would have been enough to send me into the cold night, starry eyed and content…. but that was not to be!

Cernat was given a well earned rest while Huillet played a bon bon with Chopin’s Scherzo 2, which made you realize that his international prizes and reputation as a concert pianist are richly deserved. One recent reviewer of the Scherzo says: Chopin wished his students to perform the opening phrase of this scherzo in a manner that evoked the image of a mortuary. In a way, Chopin has ultimately gotten his wish, because the piece has been played to death. And it takes an interpretation like Huillet’s to make the piece breathe anew and set the scene for…

another bon bon with Cernat and Huillet playing Saint Sean’s Dance Macabre. This can be another overdone piece but here Cernat played death as a fiddle hypnotically with the piano underscoring her in demented dance. And then a final bon bon with…

Massenet’s Meditation, the violin entre act in Act 2 of Massenet’s Opera Thais. This sensitive and beautifully performed piece led us into the gypsy motivated music that had been crackling like restrained sparks from the violinist’s fingers all night…

so that Huilet’s composition Sacramento motivated by the gypsy flamenco sounds that echoed from the Sacramento caves near Granada in Spain was bravura with the violin bowed, plucked, castanetted and made to sing wildly and willfully, leading us to…

Ravel’s Tzigane. Tzigane with its variant spellings, is a generic name in Hungary and other parts of Europe for Gypsy, and although in Ravel’s work there are, apparently, no authentic gypsy melodies, it crackles with Romany sadness, passion and romance. It was perfection and the audience loved it so much that…

we were given two encores… also with Romanish flavors that sent us home dancing.

What a wonderful night… and it was even more wonderful after the gorillas carrying TV cameras were given their bananas and put back in their cages in the dungeons in the Opera house basement… unfortunately, though, they were allowed to prance and dance all over the theatre throughout the 25 minutes of Faure.

Not a reviewer, not a critic, “Kiếm Văn Tìm” is an interested, impartial and informed observer and connoisseur of the Hanoi art scene who offers highly opinionated remarks and is part of the long and venerable tradition of anonymous correspondents. Please add your thoughts in the comment field below.

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