By Dmitry Badiarov, independent contributor to the Diplomat magazine
Russian-born violinist Sergey Malov, known for his mastery of three instruments, namely the violin, the viola and the recently rediscovered violoncello da spalla, gave a truly impressive performance at Concertgebouw in Amsterdam on July 23, where he played with the Concertgebouw’s frequent guest, the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, led by Bernhard Forck.
Before the concert, the artists and audience stood for one minute of silence in memory of the victims of flight MH17.
The program included a concerto by Unico Wilhelm van Wassenaer, the cello concerto in D by the Neapolitan Leonardo Leo, the Brandenburg Concerto No.3 and Orchestra Suite No. 2 by Johann Sebastian Bach, and the violin concerto in B by Giuseppe Tartini. Malov performed both as violinist and cellist. In the opening Wassenaer concerto Malov and Forck offered beautiful and powerful solo parts on the violin. Sergey Malov performed Leo’s cello concerto with breathtaking virtuosity on the shoulder-held violoncello da spalla, an instrument much in use in the 18th century. One of Malov’s assets is his fluency in a broad range of musical styles, from the Baroque to contemporary music and even jazz, and connoisseurs knew that some improvisation was to be expected. But the audience were given to hear something that went far beyond their expectations as Malov treated them to a dazzling abundance of ornamentations and cadenze improvised ex tempore. His magnificent cadenza in the Tartini violin concerto in B deserves a description of its own, not only because of its impressive length, but because of its great wealth of musical invention – all of it perfectly true to the style of the concerto. At the same time, Malov suprised connoisseurs among the audience with a display of entirely innovative bowing techniques. He also allowed himself a musical pleasantry by inserting several improvised passages from the cadenza into the following orchestral reprise.
Sergey Malov has been invited to play concertos on both the violin and the viola by the London Philharmonic, the Tokyo Philharmonic and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks in Munich, the Camerata Salzburg and the Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg. The Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin (AKAMUS) chose Malov as their soloist for a programe of Italian concertos for the violin and the violoncello da spalla at to be performed at the Berlin Philharmonic Hall on 15 November 2013. Malov’s Baroque instrument collection consists of a violoncello da spalla and a baroque violin built by luthier Dmitry Badiarov (2011 and 2013, The Hague) and at this moment he is working on the modern violin for him. On September 5 Malov gave a recital with pianist Florian Birsak at the Festival Oude Muziek in Utrecht. Their performance was more than noteworthy indeed.