Of course I thoroughly enjoy a solo performance and the all-encompassing orchestra but my preference is for a duet of instruments, the conversation, the balance which was clearly visible and audible between Erzhan and Ilya.
The Beethoven would have been known to many in the audience with its familiar themes and, in previous discussions, I’ve agreed that, whilst enjoying it, it seems too short - you expect the Rondo to continue!
The exciting climaxes of the Stravinsky were too much for my neighbour’s tapping feet, an excellent vehicle for Erzhan and Ilya’s partnership.
Before the interval, Erzhan introduced us to Aizhana Nurkenova from his home town of Almaty, Kazakhstan and he played her new composition Scherzo for us.
I hadn’t seen the programme earlier and was delighted to note the Saint-Saens. Many years ago, I went to Australia by sea and was accompanied by Chopin’s Sylphides, Offenbach’s Belle Helene and this Saint-Saens I appreciated and treasured every note and was pleased that the Talent Unlimited audience shared my enthusiasm on this occasion too. As I left, I heard 2 men discussing the “delicacy of the playing” and they were trying to remember which film or tv drama used part of it (can you place it?). Erzhan and Ilya responded to the resounding applause by playing as encore Tchaikovsky’s Melody for us.
When not performing and practicing, Samara-born 27 year old Ilya Kondratiev is completing a Royal College of Music scholarship to study for the Master of Performance. Erzhan Kulibaev has played in many countries recently notably in Spain and Argentina where he enjoyed the title of the “best international interpreter of the tango”.