In performance: Bella Hristova
Violinist Hristova makes strong statement in YCA concert
by Joe Banno
Violinist Bella Hristova is no shrinking violet. Her performance of Beethoven's Violin Sonata No. 8 on Tuesday, which opened her Young Concert Artists Series recital at the Terrace Theater, established her as a player of impressive power and control. This is music of bold gestures and extroverted charm, and Hristova met its demands with a big, keenly focused tone and an almost athletic vigor.
(read more after the jump)
Not that this 24-year-old virtuoso lacks sensitivity: The Andantino movement of Corigliano's Sonata for Violin and Piano exuded tenderness and sweet-toned appeal. But what lingers most in the mind is her natural command of the slashing chords and precipitous runs in the other three movements. The more I hear the Corigliano Sonata -- with its melding of bluff American humor and machine-like rhythms reminiscent of Prokofiev and Shostakovich -- the more it sounds like a modern classic. In Hristova's hands, it became the arresting centerpiece of the evening.
Pianist Ieva Jokubaviciute was a deft partner, finding ways to make the large-scale keyboard writing in both works register boldly, while never upstaging the violin. Messiaen's "Fantasie" gave Jokubaviciute a chance to take charge in its opening chords, and the two musicians forged an exciting reading together. Saint-Saëns's romantically expansive Violin Sonata No. 1 drew a wide, expressive range from both players. Hristova's fervent treatment of the first movement and headlong virtuosity in the finale deservedly brought the audience to its feet.
-- Joe Banno
Note: Here's what the New York Times had to say about Hristova's performance of the same recital last week in New York.
Does anyone else have other thoughts?
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