July 25, 2021

Anastasia Kobekina, cellist in a state of grace at the Festival d’Auvers

Verlaine out for a walk at Van Gogh? Impossible not to think about it, in this late afternoon which superimposes the famous poem from Wisdom ” The sky is, above the roof, so blue, so calm! “ – the serene profile of the church of Auvers-sur-Oise, Friday 11 June. It is in this mythical place, in the scent of sage and syringe, that the pianist and organist Pascal Escande founded, forty years ago, in 1981, what has become over time a festival as renowned as the stars who populated it – from Barbara Hendricks to Rostropovich, Richter, Cziffra, including Aldo Ciccolini, Régine Crespin, Hélène Grimaud, Denis Matsuev.

A few hectares of fields and the banks of the Oise separate the cemetery where Vincent and Théo rest from the Saint-Denis church, which adjoins the castle of Méry-sur-Oise. Russian cellist Anastasia Kobekina gives the first of three concerts in her residence at the Festival d’Auvers-sur-Oise.

The young woman was to be in tandem with Thibaut Garcia, but the guitarist declared himself a contact case the day before. Gabriel Bianco did not hesitate to take up the challenge, fortunately broken with the Spanish repertoire which constitutes the main course of the evening. A simple and complex program. In fact, despite the quality of the works of Granados, Albéniz, Villa-Lobos and Falla, it is difficult to support the public’s interest through pieces crammed with Hispanic idioms. A challenge that the two musicians will meet with faith and talent.

Child prodigy

At 26, Anastasia Kobekina, born in Yekaterinburg, Russia, into a family of musicians, has all the scars of the child prodigy. She gave her first public concert with orchestra at the age of 6, before continuing her apprenticeship at the Central Moscow School, then at the Kronberg Academy, in Germany, and finally at the Paris Conservatory. But it was her third place at the prestigious Moscow International Tchaikovsky Competition in 2019 that propelled the young woman to the forefront. Face irradiated with the happiness of music, the light weight of a dancer. Grace personified.

From the first bars of the Spanish dance op. 37 n ° 2 de Granados, we can measure the rare understanding of those who breathe music at the same altitude – all the more disturbing as the newcomers hardly had time to rehearse. Each in the sound of the other, in anticipation of its momentum, rallying twin dynamics. Bianco’s guitar imposes a seduction imbued with dream and nostalgia, while Kobekina’s cello sometimes seems to rise above the rooftops, like the musicians of Chagall. An aerial sound, whose song sometimes approaches the stellar flows of the Martenot wave, but which also knows how to rumble and vibrate, angry bow tapping his heel in the dance, dawdling at the tip, hug and mutinous, to all senses of the term. All in a sovereign facility.

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