Avigail and Ammiel Bushakevitz delightAndra le Roux-Kemp
Andra le Roux-Kemp: The Cape Town Concert Series concluded the first half of the 2012 season with a celebration with Avigail and Ammiel Bushakevitz.
These musical siblings both have established careers overseas and it was truly a delight to have them perform on home ground and on the stage together.
Avigail and Ammiel Bushakevitz were born in Jerusalem but grew up in George, South Africa. Violinist Avigail, who graduated with a Master of Music from the acclaimed Juilliard School of Music in New York, has won numerous prizes both locally and abroad. Her brother Ammiel, who regularly performs as soloist and chamber musician in cities all across Europe and the USA, currently studies piano at the Conservatoire Nationale Supérieur de Musique in Paris, France. Ammiel is not only a successful pianist but is also active as a musicologist, focussing his research on the life and works of Franz Schubert and Richard Wagner.
The programme for the evening was clearly set to impress Capetonians with a showcase of the artists’ talent, skill and ability. First the audience was lulled into submission by the sweet melodies of Franz Schubert’s Sonata for violin and piano in A major, D. 574. The Bushakevitz duo gave a very tender but emotionally charged interpretation of this Schubert sonata; a real gem in the violin/piano repertoire. But it was the nail-biting performance of Bartok’s Sonata for violin and piano no. 2, Sz 76 that really got the audience excited.
Bartok’s two violin sonatas are generally regarded as some of his most complex compositions. In The Gramophone these sonatas are described as ‘cerebral music with a heart of fire… that brook no interpretative compromises’. Yet the Bushakevitz duo performed this technically demanding work with the utmost ease and conviction. They gave a truly riveting performance, with interpretation convincing enough to woo over even the most sceptical Bartok critic.
The atmosphere at the interval was jovial, with concert goers happily tucking into the new addition of samoosas that are now on sale at the Baxter. The magic of the evening then continued with a performance of two short violin concertos, with Ammiel playing the orchestra reductions. Although rather unusual to include such concertos in a chamber music programme, the audience thoroughly enjoyed the Poème Op. 25 of E Chausson and Tchaikovsky’s Meditation Op. 42 No. 1.
The Meditation from Tchaikovsky in particular had some audience members erect in their seats shouting ‘Bravo’. Charmingly, Avigail seemed completely taken aback and surprised by this display of appreciation and excitement from the audience.
The programme concluded with Lutoslawski’s Partita for violin and piano, a fitting choice to complete a programme of deeply-moving works that challenged both the performers as well as the audience. It is said that the life within Lutoslawski’s Partita is so powerful that both to play it and to listen to it is an overwhelming experience. The audience was indeed overwhelmed, but more so by the talent and gusto of Avigail and Ammiel Bushakevitz.
Capetonians can look forward to further performances from Avigail Bushakevitz with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra on 21 June 2012 and at the Nederburg Concert Series with John Theodore on 24 June 2012.
Avigail and Ammiel Bushakevitz performed at the Baxter Concert Hall, Rondebosch as part of the Cape Town Concert Series on 9 June 2012.
Andra le Roux-Kemp
021 447 5057
Baxter Theatre Centre, Cape Town Western Cape South Africa