Thursday, 19 September 2013

Two Georgian Girls

Thanks to an urgent recommendation from an American friend, I plugged into Lisa Batiashvili and Khatia Buniatishvili playing Schubert and César Franck at Verbier this year (22 July). In one word: truly magnificent, and thank you MediciTV for filming the concert and making it available. The film should be shown in every music conservatory as a prime example of true duo playing. Lisa and Khatia listened to each other, and responded to each other's music, creating a real musical dialogue. For over a decade now, Lisa Batiashvili has been my top favourite of the new wave (viz, tidal wave) of brilliant new violinists; not only does she make a beautiful sound, have a superb technique and have incredible poise; but she is also a real musician whose powers of concentration shape the forms of the music she plays.

Her dialogue with Khatia Buniatishvili was riveting in the Schubert Rondo Brilliant and the Duo Sonata, and in the César Franck sonata. The encore, Heifetz's arrangement of Debussy's Beau Soir, was deeply moving as played by the two Georgians. In true duo playing of violin and piano music, one hesitates between admiring the violinist or the pianist, trying to decide which to admire more. So it was with this concert. Khatia Buniatishvili is a real pleasure to listen to, as is always, Lisa Batiashvili. It is sad that since both Georgians are “exclusive artists” with different record companies, the chance of hearing them together outside the concert stage will probably be limited. Anyway, for this 65 minute concert: thank you Lisa and Khatia. And thank you Verbier Festival and MediciTV (as well as César Franck and Franz Schubert). Proof that in a world where so much art is now thoroughly commercialised, oases of civilisation still exist.

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