A cosmopolitan audience enjoyed this opening recital of the annual Virtuoso Violin Festival in Stratford-upon-Avon, an international summer school which brings musicians together for nine days of master classes and individual tuition.
Prokofiev’s Five melodies, op. 35 was a happy opening choice. Rimma Sushanskaya has the style of these pieces in her blood and she captured their changes of mood and fantastical decoration to perfection.
Bach and Paganini are this year’s featured composers but although the bravura of Paganini’s First Violin concerto was impressive, its technical extremes were produced at the expense of dynamic range. Robert Markham was a fine pianist, even finding poetry in the ungrateful orchestral reduction.
The finale – the Franck Sonata was of a different order. Bold, impassioned, and spontaneous, a perfect pairing of performers and composer – a study in partnership, as seems appropriate for a piece written as a wedding present.