By Scott MacClelland
VIOLINIST ELDAR HUDIYEV displayed polished musical artistry before an audience of enthusiasts for his first local public appearance in an ambitious recital of sonatas for violin and piano at All Saints’ Church in Carmel last Saturday. A professional violinist with world-class credentials and endorsements, Hudiyev was joined by the exceptionally accomplished amateur pianist James Neiman—new to the area and already committed to furthering its chamber music culture—for a program of Bach, Brahms and Beethoven.
Hudiyev, brother of Youth Music Monterey music director Farkhad Khudyev, is on a quest to fulfill his artistic destiny. On the evidence of Saturday’s recital, he is well along that path. The opening Sonata in E by Bach (BWV 1016) set the high bar for the evening. Its four movements disclosed the extraordinary integrity of Bach’s unquenchable invention. In the hands of these two artists, the piece contains no chaff to clutter its economy of means. In that regard, it was arguably the highlight of the program.
Brahms’ popular Sonata in G, Op. 78, sometimes called the “Rain” sonata since it borrows mottoes from the composer’s Regenlied, enchants the ear in its inspired opening allegro. It continues to use those borrowed bits, including some from another song, Nachklang, in the remaining two movements. But here the working out of material is more encumbered by the composer’s craft which, through no fault of their own, the performers were not able to transcend. This was partly because the piano lid was fully up, creating moments that worked against the violin. (A car alarm outside the church at the end of the first movement may have contributed to some unease as well.)
The concert was introduced by Dorothy Micheletti, board president of Youth Music Monterey, who hoped contributions from the large audience—admission to the concert was free—would achieve the benefit intended by the two artists.
The balance issue was magnified in Beethoven’s grandiose Sonata in A, Op. 47, “Kreutzer/ex-Bridgetower.” On numerous occasions the violin, especially in flurries of rapid notes, was all but drowned out by the piano. Nevertheless, the playing itself was clearly of a high professional level and gave a fine account of the famous work
For all the considerable effort that went into preparing this concert, it was a shame that the balance matter in the church was not resolved in advance. Hopefully, these two artists will re-create the event in a recording studio. Their work deserves another chance.
As an encore, Hudiyev and Neiman paid a lovely visit to Meditation, Jules Massenet’s greatest hit.
Photo by Andrea Neiman, CADAFOTO Photography