The Strad Issue: August 2018
Description: A rising-star violinist well worth catching on his ascent
Musicians: Emmanuel Tjeknavorian (violin)
Works: BACH Chaconne (Partita no.2 BWV1004), YSAŸE Sonata for Solo Violin in G major op.27 no.5, PROKOFIEV Sonata for solo violin in D major op.115, ENESCU ‘Ménétrier’ (Impressions d’enfance op.28), EHRENFELLNER Suite des Alpes op.36, ERNST Polphonic Study no.6 ‘The Last Rose of Summer’
Catalogue Number: SONY CLASSICAL 88985498312
Young Austrian violinist Emmanuel Tjeknavorian has a seriously impressive CV, recent gongs including the Interpretation and silver prizes at the 2015 International Jean Sibelius Competition. Still, it was this bravely conceived and brilliantly executed recording debut – played on Stradivari’s 1716 ‘Baron Oppenheim’ – that ultimately sent me rushing to book a seat for his July 2018 Echo Rising Stars concert at London’s Barbican.
Take the opener: a clean, rhythmic, technically superlative reading of Bach’s D minor Chaconne that’s more concerned with the work’s dance roots than it ecclesiastical connotations, but by no means leaves reverence entirely by the wayside. There’s more interpretative intelligence in the concluding Ernst Variations, Tjeknavorian bringing easy cantabile romance to their formidable finger pyrotechnics.
The Prokofiev, Ysaÿe and Enescu are thoughtfully programmed and beautifully brought off, but I wish I didn’t have to admit that even after repeated listens I’m still trying to like Ehrenfellner’s Suite des Alpes. The textural and stylistic variety across its seven movements notwithstanding, 26-plus minutes just feels long. Still, what a debut, and indeed it’s perfectly possible that when I hear the Suite des Alpes live, I’ll find myself eating humble strudel. I do hope so.