Charlotte Gardner reports from the Verbier Festival, where the duo performed on 25 and 28 July 2022
To say Miklós Perényi and Finghin Collins – the latter an eleventh-hour stand-in for an indisposed András Schiff – had tough competition on the evening they opened their Verbier Festival Beethoven cycle is something of an understatement, when a short walk away Gianandrea Noseda was conducting Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera with a glittering cast topped by tenor-of-the-moment Freddie De Tommaso. So it said a lot for the reputation of this former pupil of Casals, these days more often teaching than performing, that the church was still comfortably full.
Concert review: Miklós Perényi (cello) Dénes Várjon (piano)
In Beethoven’s First Cello Sonata, Perényi was elegant but emotionally measured, prizing lightness and flow in his bowing choices (initial accompanying chugs were four-to-a-bow, for instance) and visually undemonstrative. He seemed more in his own world than audience-aware, but invitingly so. Real fortes were absent – here and in the Third and Fourth Sonatas and the Ein Mädchen oder Weibchen Variations – but rhythmic energy was crisp and sure, matched by an attentive Collins.
They rewarded a standing ovation with the character-laden ‘Bei Männern, welche Liebe fühlen’ Variations – a teaser for their second concert. This, a morning recital, saw Perényi seemingly with more physical energy, attacking the merry final rondo of no.2 with playful, on point vim. Add joyously sung-out lines for the arrangement of the Horn Sonata op.17, and an especially atmospheric approach to the Allegro fugato section of no.5’s finale, and the cycle ended on a high.
Photo: Evgeny Evtyukhov