Kuala Lumpur | Rabinfan

Krylov, Abbado, Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Kuala Lumpur

Lee Cheng Hooi, February 15, 2017

Krylov and Abbado in a magnificent Italian night.

That superb performance drew endless applause from the KL audience

This was maestro Roberto Abbado’s second concert in Kuala Lumpur. Having missed his debut here last time, I was glad that I caught the still youthful looking 64‐year old maestro this time. Billed as an “Italian Symphony” night, there was a predominance of the A minor and A major keys in this concert.

From the dramatic opening tutti which bears familiar resemblance to an earlier Paganini piece, the Sonata Varsavia, Abbado and Krylov worked hand in glove to present this rarely performed concerto in an excellent musical light.

With the composer’s brilliant high‐wire writing of spectacular scales and arpeggios, double and triple stops, artificial harmonics and ricochet bowing, Krylov’s marvellous technique showed literally no sign of strain. More importantly, Krylov’s interpretation was a musical success as the lyrical portions were given their due.

Abbado worked in hand with Krylov, making minor slowing in tempi to accommodate the lyrical and melodious portions, whilst making minor accelerandos to emphasize the more dramatic and operatic sections of the concerto.

The only musical issue in the first movement was the choice of Krylov’s cadenza that seemed a bit prolix and did not make much use of the musical material of the first movement. Perhaps it might have been better to use the Remy Principe/Salvatore Accardo cadenza, which is found on Accardo’s 1970s DG recording.

The second movement was a superb performance from Krylov in terms of cantabile and legato bowing, akin to a very smooth operatic aria sung on the violin. Lovely and modulated vibrato usage also aided the very succulent Italianate tone that Krylov drew from his instrument.
The final third movement gave Krylov yet more chances to display his musical vivacity coupled with abundant technical fireworks. This time, the display included a cheeky and impish Rondo theme that delighted the audience on its myriad repetitions.

That superb performance drew endless applause from the KL audience and Krylov obliged them with yet more Paganini, his famous 24th Caprice in A minor. This encore was also stunning in its execution especially the variation in tenths that was taken very swiftly and the difficult left‐hand pizzicato section.

The audience refusing to let him go after the 24th Caprice, Krylov played yet another encore. This time, he did not announce the encore but launched straight into Paganini’s 13th Caprice in B flat major. With its opening descending chromatic thirds, Krylov managed to make the notes to sound like “The Devil’s Laughter”, which is what this Caprice is fondly nicknamed.

Berlioz’s “Roman Carnival Overture” was the fine concert opener, especially with Abbado’s swift and upbeat tempi. The creamy‐toned MPO viola section canonically answered the superbly played cor anglais solo by Michael Austin in the Andante sostenuto section. After a chromatic flourish in the woodwinds, the whole orchestra performed brilliantly to open this

Italian themed concert with much flair and aplomb.
The Paganini Violin Concerto No 5 in A minor was the next piece in the concert. The excellent Russian soloist, 46‐year old Sergej Krylov made his debut in Kuala Lumpur in the concerto, which was also receiving its premiere performance in the DFP Hall.


London | Seen and Heard International

Krylov, Søndergård, LPO, Royal Festival Hall

Geoff DIggines, October 11, 2016

“Sergej Krylov is clearly one of the most distinguished violinists playing today.”

“I can’t imagine Menuhin or any other violinist dead or alive surpassing Krylov.”

Panufnik composed his Violin Concerto in 1971 for the veteran violinist Yehudi Menuhin who had requested the concerto. It was composed to be premiered by Menuhin with his Menuhin Festival Orchestra, and Menuhin performed the concerto in 1972 at the City of London Festival with the composer conducting. The opening ‘Rubato’ starts with a quasi-cadenza for soloist, which sets the mood of the movement. This is carried over by the orchestra (for strings only) which accompanies the soloist’s long cantilena. After a quasi-development section based on two intervals in minor and minor inn the flow of the music the solo cantilena re-emerges and brings the movement to an end with a shortened quasi-cadenza for soloist.

Tonight there was a wonderful dialogue between soloist and conductor. Both attended to the very flexible tempo indication ‘Rubato’. I had not heard Moscow trained Sergei Krylov before, but by tonight’s standards he is clearly one of the most distinguished violinists playing today. His tone is so diverse, as are his glissandi and pizzicato as heard in the concertos finale. He negotiates multi- stopping (chordal playing) with absolute assurance and integrity. Throughout the concerto Krylov deployed an absolute minimum of vibrato thereby playing with a tonal purity which so informs Panufnik’s design. I can’t imagine Menuhin or any other violinist dead or alive surpassing Krylov.

The Adagio, built on alternate minor and major triads initially in the orchestra, but then taken up by the soloist, as one commentator has noted, the dark minor thirds take the semblance of a Purcell- like descending bass line. The movement’s coda exudes a poetics of simplicity and reflexivity all ultimately expressed by the soloist in the tone of ‘molto tranquillo’ marked in the score.

The ‘vivace’ finale further explores the use of minor and major thirds – in the second section the melodic line initiates a minor triad as a kind of elaborated reflection from the first movement. In this movement the emphasis is very much on rhythm and constant cross-rhythms – except in the middle section- where the soloist plays a long cantabile sequence on a G-string, compellingly sustained by Krylov tonight. But all this is interrupted by short rhythmic constellations from the orchestra increasingly in dance mode. Panufnik wrote here that he wanted to convey the human feelings of joyousness, vitality and even some sense of humour.

As an encore Krylov played a brilliant and perceptive rendition of Ysayë’s ‘Obsession’ from his Second Violin Sonata in A minor, Op.27 with its intonations of the ‘Dies irae’.


Cincinnati | The Enquirer

Krylov, Montanaro, CSO, Music Hall Cincinnati

Janelle Gelfand, 29 April, 2016

It was the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto like you’ve never heard before.

The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra presented a new, 45-year-old Russian-Italian violinist named Sergej Krylov, whose electrifying technique in Tchaikovsky as well as in his encore, a Bach transcription, had listeners on their feet twice on Thursday in Music Hall.

The CSO had two newcomers in the hall for a light-hearted program of Italian-inspired music. Guest conductor Carlo Montanaro, who has a busy career directing opera around the world, led the orchestra in Mendelssohn’s “Italian” Symphony in the program’s second half, as well as two other audience favorites in the somewhat lengthy program.

You might wonder where Krylov has been hiding all these years. A winner of the Fritz Kreisler Competition among others, the Moscow-born artist has performed with the Atlanta Symphony, but his career is largely based in Europe. Born into a musical family, he played a stunning, big-toned violin made in 1994 by his father, the late Alexander Krylov. (The family emigrated to Cremona, Italy, so the maker is known as Alessandro Crillovi.)

Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D Major is known for its technical displays, but Krylov added on an extra level of virtuosity with the whiz-bang way he flew through its challenges. He communicated with an unusually full, burnished sound, and crouched, turned and moved around as he played.

In his phrasing of Tchaikovsky’s glorious melodies, he liberally used the technique of pulling back and pushing ahead known as “rubato,” often sliding into notes in the romantic style of golden-age players.

The soloist’s interpretation was a bit too over-romanticized for my taste, but his technical wizardry took ones breath away. The first movement’s cadenza was attacked with bow flying, as if to say, “watch what I can do.” His runs were supercharged – sometimes at the expense of clarity and precision.

Krylov’s phrases in the slow movement were original, and he communicated with a haunting lyricism that drew the listener in. It was a riveting performance, as he traded phrases with wind players in this beautiful movement. The finale was as fast as I’ve ever heard it played. He dashed through its diabolical virtuosities, while at the same time seeming to challenge the orchestra to play faster and faster. The orchestra managed to keep up, and Montanaro never overpowered the soloist.

For an encore, the violinist put on another show in a transcription of the famous Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, originally for organ, attributed to J.S. Bach.

Montanaro’s conducting in the rest of the program was something of a mixed bag. Tchaikovsky’s orchestral gem, “Cappriccio Italien,” which opened the program, was inspired by a trip to Rome, and includes bugle calls and a tarantella. The conductor’s view was full of drama in the big moments, but lacked nuance, especially in the sunny folk music. Even though the opening fanfares were impeccably played by the CSO brass, tempos were very fast and the music didn’t breathe.

Mendelssohn, in the second half, made a different impression. Again, the maestro’s tempos were very quick, but that worked in Mendelssohn’s charming Overture to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The scampering fairy music was beautifully played by the strings, and the winds sparkled.

The conductor’s view of Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4, which concluded the evening, was fresh and speeds were exhilarating. The lovely third movement, something of a throwback as a minuet, would have benefited from more warmth and charm. It was also too fast – the horn trio at its center was a strikingly slower tempo.

The finale, colored by traditional Italian dances, the saltarello and tarantella, was fleet and driving. The orchestra gave it a spirited performance, and special note goes to the flutes.

London, Gubaidulina, The Guardian

London | The Guardian ★ ★ ★ ★

Krylov, Kaljuste, LPO, Royal Festival Hall

Martin Kettle, November 7, 2013

Sergei Krylov brought out the serenity in Sofia Gubaidulina’s violin concerto.

Sofia Gubaidulina’s Offertorium, her Bach- and Webern-inspired 1980s violin concerto, was written for Gidon Kremer. It is no exaggeration to say that Kremer’s artistry and even his platform manner feel embedded in every page. So any violinist who takes up the solo part has big shoes to fill, especially when the 82-year-old composer herself is in the audience. But Sergei Krylov was more than up to the task.

Krylov’s playing had all the fierce physicality Gubaidulina’s score requires. At times it felt as if he was wrestling with it, so often did he twist and turn his body to extract the swooping and stabbing solo phrases from the musical marble and to ensure the maximum weight of the bow. Or maybe, this being the music of the deeply religious Gubaidulina, he was wrestling with an angel. As the concerto emerged into the rapt but always fragile chorale with which it concludes, it certainly felt that way.

If the still serenity at the end of Gubaidulina’s concerto is hard won, that of Arvo Pärt is a given. Under the clear and committed direction of his Estonian compatriot Tõnu Kaljuste, himself a revered figure in the Baltic school, the second half of the concert consisted of three key Pärt pieces. The glowing Magnificat for unaccompanied chorus, performed by the London Philharmonic Chorus, segued into the purely orchestral Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten, played with intense concentration by the LPO strings. The two components then came together in Pärt’s 1990 Berlin Mass for chorus and string orchestra. This took time to find its pulse, and the delicate balances between choral text and instrumental nuance did not quite come together until the radiant Veni Sancte Spiritus and the Credo, after which the realisation of this characteristically rapt piece never looked back.