Saturday afternoon was my very first visit to First Baptist Church Medford and very first time to hear two young budding artists, German violinist
and Ukrainian pianist Anastasia Seifetdinova. Though they met only back in January of this year, their performance of Mozart, Mendelssohn, Beethoven, and Brahms proved they have much in common—and this was no easy program.
Giegling is a graduate of Leipzig and Freiburg Academies of Music, and Seifetdinova is a graduate of the Hochshule für Musick Würzburg, Germany and holds a doctorate from the Hart School at the University of Hartford.
From the very start, with the Baldwin concert grand lid wide open, the two filled the acoustically fine sanctuary from big, full-bodied to near-whispered sound, which was a highlight of this show.
With summer breezes wafting and birds chirping through the open windows of First Baptist, this was the place to be. Integrity prevailed. Musicianship abounded. While Seifetdinova was sedulous at the keyboard, Giegling showed expression beyond her violin. Her smile synced with the light and cheerful opening of Mozart’s Sonata for Piano and Violin in A Major, KV 526. And her whole body often moved, visually supporting, even directing, her train of musical thought.
Not infrequently, Seifetdinova’s piano came in close proximity to the finer articulations of Giegling’s violin. Harmonic involvement, such as that in the middle Andante, remained somewhat indirect from the pianist’s outlook. For the concluding Presto, Seifetdinova shifted into high gear, purposing all those blazing scalar moves with Giegling always ready to go with her part; and that for me, peculiarly hinted at some good old American fiddling. Both would find a good groove.
If Seifetdinova’s in-progress working out of those devilishly tough expressions in Mozart’s deceptively simple composition, then there was nothing of the sort in her convincing delivery of Felix Mendelssohn’s Variations sérieuses for piano, opus 54.
At the church’s Baldwin, Seifetdinova found the best in that instrument. Sometimes, though, the resonance of the church’s space, less than half filled with listeners, allowed momentary blurring, but never enough to distract from her fervent resounding all of Mendelssohn’s theme and 17 variations. Her strong technique and devotion to this early Romanticism met with abundant applause and rightly so.
After intermission, Seifetdinova told us some more about the new duo, the printed notes having provided but scant information the two individuals. We did learn that the two have been doing quite a bit of concertizing over the past months since they first met. Hopefully, they will be reunited sometime in the future as Giegling, after having spent two years here in the states, will soon be returning to Germany.
Her commentary led to Beethoven’s “The Farewell” sonata, or Piano Sonata No. 26 in E-flat Major, “Les Adieux,” opus 81a. The short but melodic and harmonic packed Adagio puzzled. was that intentional, or not? Diving into that wondrous romp in Allegro, Seifetdinova commanded attention, this time with heightened exuberance and enviable pianism. The slow movement, “in walking motion, but with much expression” suggested this young, talented musician had put a considerable amount of thinking into turning a phrase and building tension. Thrusted trills, far too customary among pianists, also pointed to the challenges of recreating the slower side of music. There were moments that thrilled in the “liveliest time measurements”—Beethoven’s direction for the third movement.
Giegling’s clear cut intonation, along with her sonorous and naturally fluid bowing, maximized expression in the Sonata for Piano and Violin in G Major, opus 78. Together, she and Seifetdinova engaged deeply. The opening violin theme inevitably causes smiles, since it has become fodder for Americans from Copland to Hollywood,
If you around and looking for some music close by, drop in at First Baptist Church of Medford on August 26 for the Matisse Trio. There is plenty of parking available.
David Patterson, Professor of Music and former Chairman of the Performing Arts Department at UMass Boston, was recipient of a Fulbright Scholar Award and the Chancellor’s Distinction in Teaching Award. He studied with Nadia Boulanger and Olivier Messiaen in Paris and holds a PhD from Harvard University. He is the author of 20 Little Piano Pieces from Around the World (G. Schirmer). www.notescape.net