St Mary’s The Virtual Concert Hall n.2- Michael Foyle and Maksim Stsura a duo made in heaven

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St Mary’s Virtual Concert n.2
Hugh Mather introduced me to an amazing duo with the second in his new imposed series of virtual concerts.After the solo recital by Konstantin Lapshin
Two artists with an astonishing curriculum  who simply said to Hugh when he asked if they could stand in at the last minute for a Corona stricken Trio:
‘Choose any or all  of the ten Beethoven Sonatas we play them all ……..without the score’
………and magnificently judging by these three .
Michael Foyle and Maksim Štšura.
I listened by chance to this concert and here are just one or two general remarks about an evening of true chamber music from a duo that played as one.
No greater compliment could there be !
The programme opened with the  early A major Sonata op 12 n 2  where the Allegro vivace was played  with great buoyancy answered by the beautiful shape and flowing lines of the Andante.The piano sang beautifully and was answered by the subtle mellow tone of the violin.There was a wonderful flexibility that gave such poignant meaning to this early sonata.The Allegro piacevole was almost Schubertian in its seemless lyricism.
It was infact  a wonderful preparation for the outpouring of melody in the “Spring”  Sonata   op 24.The repeats were not played but there was a glorious return to the main melody after a development where the violin and piano weaved in and out as the duo looked so intently at each other instead of the score.The coda was of quite voluptuous beauty.
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The Adagio molto espressivo opening  one could not imagine being played more beautifully, that is,  except for when the violin entered  with its touchingly whispered tone.The subtle modulations were very moving with a give and take between the violin and piano that was quite extraordinary. A playful scherzo which could have been  a little steadier (the first movement of op 12 suffered from this too) but was a great contrast to the beautifully sung Allegro ma non troppo.
It was the great G major Sonata op 96, the last of Beethoven’s ten, that was so rewarding.A rock steady tempo  with such lyricism .The Adagio espressivo was a heartrending personal statement from both players.The Scherzo too was played with great rhythmic impetus with a beautiful lyrical trio passing from one player to the other in a quite absorbing musical conversation.The last movement had such poignant moments in the langsam central section before the final Allegro and an explosion of great rhythmic impulse and commitment .
Dr Hugh Mather presenting this extraordinary duo to the ‘virtual world’audience
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Wednesday March 18th 2020 7.30 pm

Michael Foyle (violin) Maksim Stsura (piano)

Beethoven: Violin sonata no 2 in A Op 12 no 2

Beethoven: Violin sonata no 5 in F Op 24 ‘Spring’,

Beethoven: Violin sonata in G Op 96

Michael Foyle launched his career by winning The Netherlands Violin Competition in 2016. His London debut followed with a recital at the Wigmore Hall and since then he has performed recitals in the UK’s most prestigious venues, including Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room, Buckingham Palace, St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Bridgewater Hall and Usher Hall, regularly being broadcast on BBC Radio 3. In 2018-19 he released his debut CDs, ‘The Great War Centenary – Debussy, Janacek and Respighi Sonatas’ on Challenge Records and ‘Lutoslawski and Penderecki: Complete Violin and Piano Works’ on Delphian Records, both to critical acclaim. He now pursues a busy solo career, recently performing concertos with the English Chamber Orchestra, the Polish Baltic Philharmonic, Youth Symphony Orchestra of Russia in Great Hall of Moscow Conservatory, and a return to the Rotterdam Philharmonic. He has given over 200 recitals with duo pianist Maksim Stsura, and performed premieres of solo and chamber works by over 30 living composers, and performed as Guest-Concertmaster with orchestras such as BBC Symphony and The Halle. Michael became Professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London in 2016, the youngest violinist appointed in the institution’s 200-year history. Michael was born in Scotland in 1991 and, as a teenager, won the BBC Young Musician of the Year Tabor Award and led the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. He studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London with Maureen Smith (where he received the Roth Prize for the highest graduating violinist) and then at the Vienna Konservatorium with Pavel Vernikov. He won the Royal Overseas League String Competition, the Salieri-Zinetti International Chamber Music Competition and Beethoven Society of Europe Competition, and was selected for the Park Lane Group, City Music Foundation, Kirckman Concert Society, Making Music Young Concert Artists and Live Music Now.

Pianist Maksim Stsura won First Prizes at the 7th Estonian Piano Competition (2008), the Steinway-Klavierspiel-Wettbewerb in Germany (2004), the International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition in Estonia (2000) and the Intercollegiate Beethoven Piano Competition (2013). He has appeared as soloist with orchestras such as the Amadeus Chamber Orchestra, Estonian National Symphony Orchestra and the Saint Petersburg State Academic Symphony Orchestra. As a chamber musician, Maksim is in great demand, collaborating with Jakobstad Sinfonietta (Finland), Mediterranean Chamber Brass (Spain), Florin Ensemble (UK) and Wiener Kammersymphonie (Austria), among many others. In 2014 he started his Doctoral course at the Royal College of Music, working towards his DMus. Maksim’s research has been generously supported by a Neville Wathen Award, Leverhulme Postgraduate Studentship and Mr Nigel Woolner MBE. His research titled ‘Piano Transcription of a 21st-century Orchestral Score – Freedoms and Limitations’ focuses on works by Mark-Anthony Turnage and James Dillon.Since 2012 Maksim has been the pianist in the award-winning Foyle-Stsura Duo, having performed extensively in the UK and internationally in venues including the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Bridgewater Hall in Manchester and the Wigmore Hall. He has played live on BBC Radio 3, NPO Radio 4 and Estonian Klassikaraadio and recorded for Delphian Records and Challenge Classics.

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