Eurovision Young Musicians 2018: Semi-Final 5 – Russia, Germany, and Czech Republic

Moving on to the last six semi-finalists reminds me how demanding it is to listen to so many instrumentalists in such a short space of time – memories of my ten day trip to the Khachaturian Cello Competition in Armenia flood back. 

This semi-final sees another potential for me – Russia’s Ivan Bessonov – and a change to my predicted finalists. I’ll publish a list of my predictions in the notes from the sixth semi-final. 

Russia – Ivan Bessonov, piano

Chopin Mazurka in B flat minor, Op 24 No 4
Chopin Fantasie-Impromptu in C sharp minor, Op 66
James MacMillan Barncleupédie
Rachmaninov Prelude in G minor, Op 23 No 5

Blissful fluidity in the melodic line in the Chopin Fantasie. Ivan Bessonov displays plausible and magnetic gravitas considering his slight frame and young age. MacMillan’s Barncleupédie is magical in this programme of music.  Eurovision has done well to secure this player for the competition – it will undoubtedly help reclaim the competition’s credibility, especially if Ivan wins the trophy.  Predicted winner.

Germany – Mira Foron, violin

Ravel Tzigane
Penderecki Cadenza

There’s a fierceness to Mira’s playing I’m really drawn to. Maturity too. I think she has the edge over Belgium’s violinist – there’s more expression which helps create a tighter connection with the audience. She’s a more engaging performer. Finalist?

Czech Republic – Indi Stivin, double bass

Stivin Bohemian Suite

In terms of material, the Bohemian Suite Indi has composed and plays here is light in character, but that does mean that its great sweeping melodies give him the opportunity to demonstrate his knack for creating an utterly ravishing bass sound. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard the bass as a solo instrument so convincingly played.

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