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ARCHIVE: Violin/Piano Recital (February 2019)

Originally published 1/11/2019

Last night I attended a violin/piano recital with Chavdar Parashkekov and Natasha Kislenko at Match2. They have performed internationally as a duo and recorded three CDs. The duo began with a little-known sonata by Leonid Nikolayev, continued with an arrangement of Mahler's Adagietto, and then performed the Sonata by Richard Strauss. The second half was Three Preludes by Gershwin, followed by five pieces from Porgy and Bess, all arranged by Heifetz. The strikingly different halves allowed for a wide range of style and technique from the performers. There was little that eluded their capabilities. The only caveat was a slight overshadowing of the violin by a more tonally brilliant piano. Both had complete technical control of the demanding sonata by Strauss, and the intricate Gershwin arrangements.

Chavdar is a member of the Houston Ballet and Houston Grand Opera orchestras. He serves as yet another example of the excellent level of Houston's musicians. His playing can be characterized as romantic, refined, and really accurate. Phrasing and dynamics were infused with expressive nuances, coupled with an unforced tone. There was never a question that he was sincere in his desire to feature the music above himself. While all was first rate, he was at his best in two encores by Bulgarian composers. The first, a Moto Perpetuo, showed incredible technical ease in extended compound meter passage-work. The last piece, First Love, was my favorite of the evening. Playing from memory, Chavdar faced out towards the audience, stood erect with violin held high, and produced a ribbon of tone that was arresting and captivating. This was not music for an orchestra pit, but for a concert stage anywhere.

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