On the last day of January, the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall of Müpa Budapest will host a special event: although the artists are frequent guests in Budapest, the fact that they will perform together in chamber formation, interpreting Brahms’ works, is practically unprecedented.
“I am in love with Hungary. The language is so beautiful, the people are wonderful and the music is amazing.”
– Sergei Krylov, the trio’s leader, said recently.
The innovative musician, who has constantly honed his technique, first picked up a violin in 1975 at the age of five and it was immediately clear that he, too, was carrying on the family tradition of playing and taking to the boards. He was only ten years old when he first toured with an orchestra and shortly afterwards he was hailed by appreciative audiences as the winner of the prestigious Stradivarius and Kreisler competitions in Cremona and Vienna.
Still playing the violin his father made for him, Krylov is considered by many to be one of the five greatest living violinists, and he never lets us down: blending the finest traditions of the Italian and Russian violin schools, he is a conductor and professor at the Lugano Conservatory, and he is a master of the violin, performing them with his characteristic dedication. A former pupil of the legendary Salvatore Accardo, he also has a special bond with Hungary, as one of his most cherished memories is of the time Zoltán Kocsis said of him:
“He plays the violin in Hungarian”.
Known for his powerful style, cellist legend Alexander Knyazev was a soloist with the Budapest Festival Orchestra a few years ago. Knyazev, who, like Krylov, began learning his instrument at an early age of six, graduated from the Moscow Conservatoire in 1986 (where he later taught for many years) and has played on all the world’s major concert stages from London to Vienna and Tokyo over the past three decades. Also a prominent organist (and since 2015 a pianist), the 61-year-old musician has a long-standing Brahms acquaintance: among his many concerts, the series of “Forty Songs of Brahms”, staged in 2002, is still a landmark.
The youngest member of the trio, Nikolai Lugansky, who turns fifty this year and plays frequently with Knyazev, also teaches at the Moscow Conservatoire and is an award-winning musician: he was voted best musician at the Tchaikovsky Competition in 1994. A past pupil of the world-famous Tatyana Nikolayeva, he did not come from a musical family, his parents were dedicated to science, but it is thanks to them that he chose this career, his first step into the world of music being the red toy piano his father gave him. Lugansky, who lives for humour but always gives the impression of a serious man on stage, is a man of exceptional intellect and his playing is characterised by a supreme knowledge of the instrument, a vibrant intensity that transcends his blasé and a capacity for carrying a load that is well above average.
The latter is particularly useful on this evening, as the works of Johannes Brahms, a Romantic composer who often harked back to Viennese Classicist forms, are characterised by a robust piano style. This evening, the piano trio of a young, a mature and a late composer will be ‘on the agenda’, all of which share the common characteristic of a rich, full, almost orchestral sound, often described as ‘chamber music symphonism’, which takes great account of the Beethovenian tradition, but at the same time adopts the passionate idiom of Romanticism. And for the recreation of this, it would be hard to find more accomplished masters than Krylov, Knyazev and Lugansky.
Article: Győző Nagy
Translation: Nóra Fehér