Youthful Music (Mozart Would Love It)
Kevin Shopland BUDAPEST SUN
While old age has its wisdom and insight, youth has that vigor and conquer-the-world spirit that can be infectious and exciting. This was certainly the case with the last performer in Jakobi Koncert's series "Russian Rising Stars in Budapest," cellist Sergey Antonov, on November 8.
Winner of the 2007 Moscow Tchaikovsky Cello Competition, Antonov combines formidable technique and an incredibly warm, penetrating and vibrant tone to a romantic musical sensibility to create music-making of a high caliber. He also has the good looks, fashion sense and rugged self-confidence that should carry him to the top.
Antonov's program at the Academy of Music mainly showed one style: Romanticism. He began with Kodály's extremely challenging Solo Sonata. Right from the opening chords the sound exploded from his cello, leaving no doubt that this was going to be a tense, vivid interpretation. He grappled with this virtuoso piece and created a real sense of triumph by the piece's end, not least by his amazing technical skill.
The Budapest Strings, complemented by wind instruments, joined him after the intermission for Tchaikovsky's concerto-like Rococo Variations. Antonov's sonic brilliance and ease of execution carried him through the piece's various moods. He seemed to enjoy the slow, melancholy minor mode variation the best, because this is what he played as an encore after the enthusiastic audience applauded for countless curtain calls.