FringeReview UK 2019
Ayla and Safi Sahin ‘s violin and piano Recital featured Bach’s solo Violin Sonata No. 1 in G minor, first movement; Mozart’s C minor Violin Sonata K304, Kreisler’s Liebesleid, Saint-Saens’ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A minor Op 28.
It’s exciting to be at the outset of artists’ careers. Sisters Ayla and Safi Sahin make their Chapel Royal debut on violin and piano. Ayla’s in her second year at music college. Safi’s some years younger. What came across is their maturity of musicianship as well as technical power on display here.
Ayla began with the opening of Bach’s Sonata No.1 in G minor from around 1720, where her violin was warming into the full dark-hued it displayed soon after. Here though a purity of tone and focused clean line served the violinist particularly well. At this point I wished she’d play a baroque recital, though subsequent fireworks made it clear that this player has several best periods. A certain Romantic timbre later on suggests Ysaye’s six great solo Violin Sonatas, and indeed it turns out Ayla is studying them.
Next the dark-hued Mozart Violin Sonata in C minor, K304. This is unique in Mozart’s output, his only minor-keyed duo, written in 1778 in the wake of his mother’s death in Paris. It can easily sound Beethovenian, and does so here. There are other routes, a balancing of silvery tone as it plunges into dark, but that’s something only achievable perhaps on period violin-playing. Both Sahin sisters played this with an intensity and close-thewed argument that’s impressive. And it’s good to hear a full-length sonata.
Silvery playing was what we got in Kreisler’s Liebesleid which dates from 1905. Ayla teased out a charm and light bowing of a wholly different order, and Safi’s accompaniment was nicely pointed and supportive.
The final items brought it all together though, and both artists proved wonderfully able to navigate fireworks under pressure in a performance counterpointing the instruments in an accelerating dance. This was Camille Saint-Saens’ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A minor Op 28, from 1863. The great Pablo Sarasate seems born to have premiered it though he was barely five at the time. Still it’s very much part of the French and European fascination with Spain. After the throaty dark intro, the throbbing habanera rhythms prefigure Carmen in the strut and fireworking violin which finally allows Ayla to reach stratospheric heights way off the E string. It was the perfect sign-off. Safi’s accompaniment can easily be overshadowed but was rock solid. An outstanding debut.