Eurovision Young Musicians 2018: Semi-Final 2 – Slovenia, San Marino, Poland

The biennial Eurovision Young Musician competition got underway yesterday. 18 musicians slogging it out for the top prize, the final at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall on Thursday next week. 

I watched Semi-Final 2 and 3 back on YouTube this morning. One definite finalist emerges from this semi-final. See below. 

Slovenia – Nikola Pajanovic, violin

Paganini Caprice no 7
Kreisler Tambourin Chinois
Ysaye Sonata for violin solo No 3

Very strong player; most convincing in Paganini. Unfussy playing, great precision, solid. Different colours. Taut. Performing unaccompanied in the Paganini underlines his confidence, ability, and determination. Struggled a little in the middle with the spiccato section – intonation slipped towards the end. Creates a heartfelt sweet voice in the lyrical sections in the Ysaye. Dynamic shifts are confidently delivered. Utterly compelling watch. maturity. Definite finalist. 

San Marino – Francesco Stefanelli, cello

Penderecki Violoncello Totale
Brahms Allegro vivace from Cello Sonata No 2
Britten Moto Perpetuo from Sonata for cello and piano

Penderecki – a crazy piece – a daring opener too setting expectations very high. Cellist is a world away from anything we’ve seen on BBC Young Musician. Towards the end I wondered whether some of the focus had slipped. Standing to cue the applause at the seems a little precocious at the end. Brahms is OK though some of the lower registers are a bit muddy; not enough growl for ms. Sometimes the cello is lost in the piano accompaniment – that could be the TV mix. Lacks attack. Britten – ambitious; ensemble rocks a little;  just leaves me a bit cold.

Poland – Marta Chlebicka, flute

CPE Bach Hamburger Sonata in G
Popp Rigoletto Fantasie

Bach – delightful musicianship; some tuning issues in the last movement. Popp – relaxes more during this – far more demonstrative. I enjoy watching her more than the cellist.

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