Once charismatic, forever charismatic. I have known cellist Michael Petrov for six or seven years and have had opportunities to listen to him in concert more than a few times. During all this time, the impression I had on the very first day I heard him has remained: that he has something charismatic. And it seems that he has also found this quality in his piano partner Erdem Misirlioglu.
The duo fully satisfied the Breinton crowd, performing Prokofiev’s mighty Cello Sonata, Schumann’s forever romantic Drei Fantasiestücke and Rochmaninov’s mega dramatic Cello Sonata. Michael described the programme as “strong”, and indeed it was.
The Prokofiev Sonata had not been performed at Breinton before. The first movement was a persuasive account with alternating slow and quicker sections. What a joy to hear the earth-shaking sound of the cello completed by the piano part that matched perfectly. The witty second movement was totally scrumptious and irresistible. The effects and contrasts created by the masterful staccatos and pizzicatos, and smoothly rich legatos, were infectious. The rhythmical timing of the both players was spot-on. Throughout all the movements, there was a wealth of unstoppable expressions pouring out.
Schumann’s Drei Fantasiestücke followed. These short pieces were full of lyricism and poetry; an absolute joy.
But what made this evening’s joy even bigger was Rachmaninov’s Cello Sonata. The commitment and communication between the two instruments was in full bloom. The whirlwind of inseparable cello and piano sounds took us all on board, the audience was in complete silence, pinned to their chairs. The complexity of the piano part was remarkable, and Erdem played it gloriously. In the third movement Andante, both instruments sang their heart out – bursting with so much affection, so much joy overflowing. The triumphant fourth movement was hair-raising!
Before the excitement died out, Michael announced the encore: “some anonymous number”. What followed was the Swan by Saint-Saens – a most beautiful way to end the evening.
Incidentally, the somewhat one-sided rehearsal (Michael stopped after 45 minutes and went to take a nap while Erdem continued) made me a bit nervous, but it was a pleasure to work with these young musicians. They are talented, enthusiastic, eager to perform and ready to be flexible. (Erdem even managed to train a page turner whilst performing - she was a pro by the end of the evening!).