Shostakovich and BeethovenMusic
Daniel de Borah and Kristian Winther
Melbourne Recital Centre
OPENING the Melbourne Recital Centre's Local Heroes 2013 series, the Daniel de Borah/Kristian Winther duo set a high benchmark on Thursday with a program comprising only two works but generating a white-hot intensity that proved too much for one elderly gentleman, who left the Salon moments before the final bars.
From the start, the musicians' interpretation of Beethoven's C minor Violin Sonata forged an individual path. Showing some impact of the time he spent among the ranks in Richard Tognetti's Australian Chamber Orchestra, Winther gave the first subject without vibrato, an unadorned restatement of de Borah's muted opening gambit. This deliberate emotional restraint made a striking preamble to the sonata's four-movement breadth, best exemplified in an unsentimental reading of the Adagio second movement and an engrossing account of the following Scherzo with lightly administered articulation complemented by vehement punctuating slashes that animated a brisk delivery.
For Shostakovich's Violin Sonata of 1968 the attack was even more determined, both players taking on the outer movements' tortuous contrapuntal meshes with no concessions. Maintaining the tension in the central Andante of the finale, de Borah hurtled through a massive, cadenza-like solo with mastery, Winther driving his line with fearlessness and technical fluency . While the sonata is one of the composer's more difficult its emotional language is unmistakeable, if draining; rarely performed, it made an ideal fit for this well-matched, splendidly gifted pair.