Chemical reaction on show

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Reviewed by Ruth Allison. Nelson Weekly.

Ioana Cristina Goicea and Andrey Gugnin perform at the Nelson Centre of Musical Arts. Photo: Supplied.

A palpable chemistry exists between these two young musicians.

They are a tour de force.

Ioana Cristina Goicea is a gracious amazon and an electric presence on the stage with her beautiful Guadagnini violin.

While Andrey Gugnin is very confident, charming and totally in control at his piano.

Together they gave us a rich musical experience never to be forgotten.

From the spirited opening bars of Schubert’s Rondo Brillant to the lyrical beauty of Richard Strauss, this was a showy, colourful, yet tender performance.

In Goicea’s hands, the violin took on a life of its own, delicate one minute and exacting the next, always aware of the piano.

Gugnin’s strength gave the piano a voice in return, and the two instruments engaged in a feast of incredible beauty which belied the demanding technical skill required.

The choice of programme made for a very lively evening.

Goicea made the most of the recurring refrain in the Rondo Brilliant, highlighting its many guises and having fun each time it occurred, almost appearing to make each one more ‘brilliant’.

Debussy’s Sonata in G Minor demonstrated the closeness between the two instruments as the mood ranged from sombre to sparkling.

Stravinsky’s popular and enjoyable Suite Italienne was performed with grace and effervescence.

But, it was Richard Strauss’ Sonata in E Flat Major which took the partnership to new heights, imbuing the music with urgency and poetic romanticism.

It infected the whole audience with such an intensity of feeling, that they stood as one to show their admiration and delight.

It was great to hear the small solo violin piece by Karlo Margetić’, a young New Zealand composer.

Commissioned by the Michael Hill International Violin Competition in 2017 and interpreted with gravitas by Goicea, it lived up to its description of an imaginary folk song.

The warm sounds of the violin invoked age-old cultures and, at the same time, ideas of change and adaptation as the song passes down the generations.

This concert was a special treat, one to be savoured and, in time, to be spoken of with reverence.

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