Tim Homfray hears the performance by Noga Shaham, Weronika Dziadek, Dmytro Udovychenko and Hans Christian Aavik with pianist Ita Navon at London’s Wigmore Hall on 22 October 2023


Left-right: violists Noga Shaham and Weronika Dziadek, violinists Hans Christian Aavik and Dmytro Udovychenko, and pianist Itai Navon. Photo: Wigmore Hall Trust 2023

This was a premiere-league school concert, with four string players already trailing prizes, all advanced students at the Kronberg Academy in Germany, accompanied by pianist Ita Navon. First on the platform was the Israeli violist Noga Shaham with Ödön Pártos’s Yizkor (In Memoriam), an emotionally wrenching work written in 1947. Shaham’s playing was tonally rich, plaintive and assertive, full of poignant nuance.

Next was violist Weronika Dziadek. Her performance of Clara Schumann’s Three Romances op.22 had understated authority. The D flat major piece was delicate and full of colour; the G minor Romance was capricious and fluent, and in the B flat major Romance – the best-known of the three – Dziadek was dynamically expressive and rose to moments of grandeur.

Violinist Dmytro Udovychenko had the lion’s share of the programme. His account of Robert Schumann’s Intermezzo from the ‘F–A–E’ Sonata was expressive and occasionally quixotic. Brahms’s Scherzo from the same sonata was brilliant and vigorous, with beautifully crafted contours. In Ysaÿe’s Solo Sonata in D minor op.27 no.3, the ‘Ballade’, he demonstrated serious technical chops, combining virtuoso showmanship and musicality, with a thrilling finish.

Finally came violinist Hans Christian Aavik, a player with abundant personality, who performed Bartók’s Rhapsody no.1 with theatrical flair, technical brilliance and a big smile.