REVIEW: Maxim Vengerov & Roustem Saïtkoulov – Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Russian-born superstar violinist Maxim Vengerov showcases his astonishing technical skill and artistry in this one-night only recital as part of the Edinburgh International Festival.

Beginning with Schubert’s Violin Sonata in A Major D547, followed by Beethoven’s Violin Sonata in C Minor Op.30 No.2, Vengerov’s blistering virtuosity is clearly on show from the start and despite the similarity in style and tone of the two pieces there’s much to marvel at and enjoy.

It is in the second part of the programme where things really liven, in Ravel’s Jazz-age Violin Sonata in G Major, Bengerov delivers a real treat for the ears, and in Ernst’s Polyphonic Etude no.6 (based on the traditional Irish tune The Last Rose of Summer) every staggering technical skill Vengerov possesses is on show: multiple stopping, left-handed pizzicatos and quite frankly breathtaking harmonics.

Despite the cavernous size of the Usher Hall stage, Vengerov and pianist Roustem Saïtkoulov, manage to achieve an air of intimacy and connection to their audience and both look genuinely delighted to be in front of this adoring assembly.

Ending on a pair of lively Paganini pieces, we are left wanting more and hoping that it won’t be long before Vengerov graces a British stage again.