2020 Vision, Sergej Krylov, Osmo Vanska, LPO,


Royal Festival Hall: a performance with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Osmo Vanska just before the first lockdown.

Spohr. Violin Concerto No.2 in D minor, Op.2


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Krylov, Vänskä, LPO, Royal Festival Hall

Tim Ashley, February 26, 2020

LPO/Vänskä review – understated dexterity meets energy and fire

Royal Festival Hall, London

“Krylov sounded superb, playing with attractive sweetness of tone and easy, if understated dexterity”

Violinist Sergej Krylov was superb in Spohr’s Second Violin Concerto, with conductor Vänskä bringing precision and attack to works by Elgar, Webern and Rautavaara.

The centrepiece of Osmo Vänskä’s first concert in the London Philharmonic’s 2020 Vision series was Louis Spohr’s rarely heard Second Violin Concerto, with Sergej Krylov as soloist. Spohr (1784-1859), a virtuoso violinist as well as a composer, was as famous as Beethoven in his lifetime and professed an at times guarded admiration for the latter’s work. His own music, however, is uneven, and the concerto is no masterpiece.

There are dips throughout in melodic and thematic inspiration and little sense of dramatic interaction between soloist and orchestra. The novelty lies in the difficulty of the violin writing, most notably in the adagio, double-stopped throughout and creating the illusion of two violins playing a duet in counterpoint. Krylov sounded superb, playing with attractive sweetness of tone and easy, if understated dexterity. Neither he nor Vänskä, however, could disguise the fact that the polonaise finale overstays its welcome.

Spohr’s concerto was placed alongside Elgar’s In the South and Webern’s Im Sommerwind, both from 1904, and Rautavaara’s Book of Visions, written a century later. Elgar’s concert overture, reflecting on the beauty of Italy and the violence of its history, can turn grandiloquent, though Vänskä’s interpretation had marvellous energy and dramatic fire. Rautavaara’s spiritual meditations run the risk of seeming nebulous, but here their blocks of sound and shifting dissonances hit home with considerable force. Im Sommerwind was the evening’s high point. Conducted with scrupulous attention to detail and played with breathtaking precision, it reminded us that despite its flaws in shape, its thematic compression and fragmentation contain in embryo so much that was to follow in 20th-century music.


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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.


Sofia Gubaidulina

Performing Sofia Gubaidulina’s “Offertorium” is always an intense spiritual experience. For the first time Sergej Krylov performed it at the invitation of the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Tõnu Kaljuste at the Royal Festival Hall in London. The composer herself attended the rehearsals and the concert.

In 2021 Sergej Krylov gave the first performance of the “Offertorium” at the composer’s home town of Kazan at the X Sofia Gubaidulina’s International Festival of Contemporary Music “Concordia” with Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra conducted by V. Uryupin