First there was this (a live Wigmore Hall recital, including Sonatas by Debussy and César Franck, the latter the one for violin, transcribed), https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000ztrw, then this (Schubert), https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0010253, and this (Shostakovich), https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001025f.
In a literal thrice I have been introduced to Russian cellist Anastasia Kobekina, a member of BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artists scheme. She is a wonderful musician, capable of many colours, tones, dynamics and subtleties, and a captivating ability to draw the listener in through story-telling powers to invest whatever the music might be with a sense of fantasy.
So suggested the Wigmore concert. In the other two broadcasts, both recorded recently (the Shostakovich two days before Wigmore), there were similar qualities in evidence. In the Sonata (D821) that Schubert wrote for the now-defunct arpeggione (a six-string hybrid instrument marrying cello and guitar aspects), accompanied by Anna Fedorova on a nice-sounding Érard piano, Kobekina essayed eloquence, intimacy and dancing vigour.
In Shostakovich’s First Cello Concerto, Kobekina (with sterling backing from Royal Northern Sinfonia and Dinis Sousa) found spikiness and edge, confident to dig into the cello’s strings, and was soulful and intense in the slow movement, musing (almost extemporising) in the extended and segueing cadenza, and fiery in the Finale. A different Anastasia, witty and urbane, offered as an encore a Galliard arranged by her father, with the RNS’s timpanist on tambourine. She has a fun side.
I get the impression that Kobekina is a bit of a chameleon, that performances of the same work will not be identical and that she will continue to explore pieces even when they have reached concert standard. I hope she will resist being transported from venue to venue as part of a hectic schedule to play only whatever might be her ‘signature’ works. Anastasia Kobekina is a precious talent and I look forward to hearing her again. (Elgar’s Concerto needs raising from the routine.) I imagine conductors and pianists are queueing up to work with her.