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Corelli/Kreisler, Beethoven, Chausson & Enescu

A. Corelli / F. Kreisler: La Folia
L. van Beethoven: Sonata in A Major, Op.47 "Kreutzer"
E. Chausson: Poème
G. Enescu: Sonata no.2 in F minor, Op.6

Horia Vacarescu & Constantin Sandu

Romanian Cultural Institute London, 4 March 2010

Another long, virtuosic programme which left me wishing for less music played with more poetry.

La Folia can be be played either with Kreisler’s warmth and charisma, or with the subtlety of the baroque; seeing as it is arguably more Kreisler’s transcription than Corelli’s original, the latter is probably more appropriate.

Horia Vacarescu went for neither approach; going just for sheer virtuosity, I found his interpretation left the listener uninvolved. Similarly Beethoven lacked the perfect intonation and singing tone required for classical works. The Kreutzer sonata is a work full of drama which was not brought out in this performance; watch Patricia Kopatchinskaja and Fazil Say for a controversial but certainly gripping rendition.

The second half was a different matter entirely. Maybe not the best performance of Chausson’s Poéme I have ever heard, but it certainly drew the listener in. Things continued to improve with Enescu’s rarely played Sonata no. 2; the highlight being its quirky Finale played with wit and panache. Any doubts left about Horia’s playing were put to rest by the swashbuckling encore.

Having listened to two concerts held at the Romanian Cultural Institute I can only conclude that the acoustic does not favour the violin; on both occasions the violinist’s tone has sounded forced. In contrast the piano sounds beautifully resonant, but on this occasion drowned the violin for some of the performance; more rehearsal time needed checking the balance.

Anna Michel