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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.