Belgrade: Krylov, Griffiths, Belgrade Philharmonic | Bachtrack

Bachtrack Review: Krylov, Griffiths, Belgrade Philharmonic, Kolarac Concert Hall

Peter Connors, November 22, 2019

Sergej Krylov and the Belgrade Philharmonic: a fine partnership in Beethoven.

The Belgrade Philharmonic’s exploration of Beethoven continued last night with a magisterial performance of his Violin Concerto in D major by Russian violinist Sergey Krylov. Without an overture to warm the audience up, those opening bars with their gentle timpani beats evoked a magical atmosphere. British conductor Howard Griffiths established the scene in the orchestral exposition with its varied moods but the real excitement began when the soloist joined them.

Krylov established his presence in an unfussy, leisurely manner. This was bound to be a fine partnership between soloist and orchestra, and so it proved. The gloriously rich sound of his instrument was one which he could adapt to be forceful, cajoling, calm or jovial as the moment required. And how he made his violin sing! Krylov wore his virtuosity lightly. He never took the limelight at the expense of the orchestra. Beethoven’s is not a “soloist versus orchestra” concerto, and the orchestra is never relegated to the role of mere accompanist. Krylov seemed to relish stepping back from his sections prominence to let the orchestra shine. Surely it is significant that he spent much of the performance side-on to the audience, looking at the conductor. The cadenza towards the end of the first movement gave him the opportunity to display his virtuosity (as did the two encores he gave after the concerto). The second movement was more dreamy and Krylov showed the expressive side of his playing, revelling in the flowing melodies, often contrasting with the orchestral timbre. Again he was happy to exchange roles with the orchestral players. It all came together in the spirited Rondo finale with lyrical, reflective and energetic playing from soloist and orchestra alike.

It is remarkable that Beethoven’s concerto was not successful at first and had to wait until a young Joseph Joachim took it up in 1844 to become a part of every solo violinist’s repertoire and an audience favourite – the same Joachim to whom Schumann dedicated his Symphony no. 4 in D minor which formed the second half of this concert.

Schumann thoroughly revised his symphony some ten years after it first performance, adding many details and amending the orchestration. Many have preferred the earlier, lighter version,

but tonight we had the revised 1851 version and Griffiths made the most of the warm, rich textures of the piece. He allowed the details to come through; here the horns became prominent, there the woodwind emerged from the wash of sound and a light touch was applied where necessary, as in parts of the finale. He also kept the rhythmic drive of the symphony going and created atmospheric moods such as the slow, mysterious

and moments of grandeur later in the first movement. The lovely melody of the Romance second movement was beautifully done. The insistent Scherzo brought energy to the piece with a more lilting central section. The slow beginning of the fourth movement suggested that something momentous was going to take place and it did, but in a lively, positive manner, leading to a glowing conclusion.

The two works in the programme felt as if they belonged together: both serious but not solemn, warm, positive pieces that left the audience feeling uplifted, and both given fine performances.

opening of the symphony 


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Krylov, Petrenko, LPO, Royal Festival Hall

David Truslove, March 2, 2018

“World-beating musicianship from Sergej Krylov in Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto”

As part of the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s ongoing exploration of the life and works of Igor Stravinsky this latest concert juxtaposed Tchaikovsky’s sunlit Violin Concerto with two works associated with the Ballets Russes, now heard more often in their concert versions. By any standards this was an attractive programme, but what made the evening so special was the inspirational presence of Vasily Petrenko (Chief Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra) and the astonishing playing of Sergej Krylov.

The rapport between these two Russians was evident throughout Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D major, given a well-paced account that just glowed from start to finish. One could only marvel at the freshness and spontaneity of Krylov’s playing – there was iron and sweetness in his tone and everything else in between. Technique and intonation were faultless, runs were immaculately executed and his capacity to transform a simple phrase into gold

with such subtlety of dynamic shading and adjustment of colour was fabulous. Under Krylov, Tchaikovsky’s opening movement traversed wistful dreaminess to aristocratic grandeur and his tonal control was beyond reproach. So enthralled was I by his virtuosity I barely noticed the orchestral support. That said, Petrenko’s tempi were just right and climaxes were perfectly shaped – especially when urging the players forward just before the cadenza.

Azure skies of the affecting Canzonetta were given further lustre by Timothy Lines’ eloquent clarinet and Krylov who seemed to pour his heart and soul into every bar, his rapt attention bringing out every nuance of tone that was mesmerising. The Finale: Allegro
vivacissimo was exactly that – an adrenalin-fuelled tempo that brought seat-of-the-pants exhilaration and boundless joy. One could almost sense unrestrained delight from Krylov as his bow-wielding constantly refuted the claim by the work’s dedicatee

Leopold Auer that it was “unplayable”. At thirty-four minutes this performance would also have dismissed Edward Hanslick’s assertion that the work was “long and pretentious”. Further virtuosity followed in the shape of Paganini’s Caprice no. 24 in A minor.