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FOM: BUSHAKOVITZ & WARBURTON (article first published : 2006-07-27)

Since she first played in Durban a couple of years ago, 18-year-old Avigail Bushakovitz, who was born in Israel and now lives and studies in Cape Town, has developed into a violinist with a technique, poise and polish beyond her years.

In a Friends of Music recital at the Durban Jewish Centre she and Durban pianist Andrew Warburton presented a programme ranging from the early eighteenth century to the late twentieth, and they were rewarded with prolonged applause from a big audience.

In my view the high point of the evening was the performance of Brahms’s Sonata No 3 for Violin and Piano in D minor, Op. 108, a late and complex work that demonstrates many of the composer’s characteristics, big bold themes contrasted with gentle lyricism, syncopated rhythms, tenderness and a kind of rough humour. It is a formidable challenge for both performers. Avigail produced the broad, spacious violin tone that the music demands and Andrew Warburton handled the difficult piano part with expressive power.

Mozart’s Sonata in G major, K 301, a lovely two-movement work, brought forth more skilful and sympathetic playing, with the kind of luminous clarity that one associates with Mozart. Once again Andrew Warburton’s contribution was important. The piano and violin are equal partners in this kind of music.

We entered very different territory with three movements (of a total of five) from the Partita by the Polish composer Witold Lutoslawski, who died in 1994. The programme note referred to this as aleatoric music. “Aleatory” means depending on chance and at one point the composer specifically directed that “the violin and piano parts should not be coordinated in any way”. That’s how it sounded. Difficult music, and the young violinist said disarmingly from the platform: “If you find this music hard to listen to, just bear with me for eight minutes”. One member of the audience said drily afterwards that the best movements of the Partita were those that were not played.

Music by Schubert and Pietro Locatelli (1695-1764) completed a programme of unusual interest.

The evening’s prelude performers, funded by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, were young Durban violinists William Chin (12) and Michelle Hsu (10). Chinese in origin, solemn of mien and accomplished in technique, they are a greatly appealing pair, and they almost stole the show with their performance of a Vivaldi concerto for two violins, the orchestral part being supplied by the excellent Baroque 2000, a group of eleven experienced and dedicated players. - Michael Green




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