Sergey Antonov — A Cello That Can Spellbind
Patrizia Ferialdi IL PICCOLO
(Eng. tr. by Pasquale G. Tat ò)
Trieste. In the program it was billed as a major event, whether on account of Sergey Antonov’s Italian début première or of his brilliant course of studies begun as a child prodigy at age five, his advanced studies with a master such as Rostropovich, and a string of first prizes at important international competitions. And no publicity campaign was ever more on target because Sergey Antonov, who, together with pianist Constantine Finehouse, inaugurated the Chamber Music Association’s Salotto Cameristico, is truly a monster virtuoso on the cello.
The performance that featured him as the applauded protagonist in Trieste literally spellbound the rapt audience at Teatro Verdi’s Ridotto with an expressive mastery of extraordinary maturity, realized through a technical skill exhibited without glitz but with the naturalness that characterizes a genial interpreter.
The 25-year-old Muscovite exhibited an alluring bronzy timbre that shines in the embrace of a most beautiful sonority, full and rich of nuances. He impressed us with his imposing production of sound, which gives him a powerful yet not excessive volume, and for the bow’s soft, pliable, varicolored dance, which allows him to get to the heart of the musical pieces with irresistible fascination. Thus, his solo in the Suite No. 2, characterized by a flowing phrasing and litheness of strains, gives Bach a velvety sonority and subtle poetic nuances of bewitching freshness, while the light shading of the dynamic acrobatics that underpin Stravinsky’s Suite Italienne’s six movements envelop its genial plot in an explosion of colors. In the latter score, which involves a transcription of the Pulcinella made by the same author, Antonov finds a highly skilled foil in pianist Constantine Finehouse.
A feeling that gave us, in conclusion, a breathtaking execution of Rachmaninov’s Sonata in G minor, op. 19, as arduous for its virtuosic funambulisms as it is seductive for its melodic profusion, rendered by this duo in both of those aspects with dazzling instrumental bravura.