The Enchanting Violin was the name of the concert held in Auckland in May, which without exaggeration, was greeted with unanimous enthusiasm by the audience which comprised people of all ages.

The lead violin this spectacular night, both in the musical and figurative sense, was our own Irina Lgotkina, the popular and much admired musician.

“For me, a concert is an opportunity to share the beauty, the magic, and all the amazing things that I discover in music …” – Irina said in the programme booklet.

The other musicians participating in the concert were Olga Khomenko – Irina’s sister and also professional violinist, and Elizaveta Martynova (harpsichord and piano), a graduate of the Gnessin Russian Academy of Music.

As a slight digression, I cannot help but share the joy and pride of having come from the same hometown as Irina and Olga. Graduates of the Mussorgsky Ural State Conservatoire in Yekaterinburg, they successfully performed in various orchestras and countries. It has to be mentioned that the sisters continued their family’s rich musical dynasty. The surname Khomenko (Irina’s maiden name) is well known to many connoisseurs and lovers of rock music. Alexey Khomenko is a Soviet and Russian keyboardist, producer and arranger. He is known as one of the founders of the Sverdlovsk rock club and the keyboardist of the famous Nautilus Pompilius rock band.

The first part of the programme featured Antonio Vivaldi’s four violin concertos “The Four Seasons”. This is perhaps one of the most famous and popular classical music pieces in the world. For almost three hundred years since its creation these concertos have been performed in a variety of arrangements by vocalists, orchestras, rock musicians. The young, well-known New Zealand singer Hayley Westenra adapted the Largo from the fourth concerto (Winter) into a song called “River of Dreams “…

Our musicians performed “The Four Seasons” in an arrangement for quartet – two violins (Irina and Olga), a cello (soloist of the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra, Katherine Hebley) and an electronic harpsichord (Elizaveta Martynova).

The audience was treated to a truly virtuoso performance in the wonderful and absolutely harmonious sound of the string ensemble. The flawless harpsichord part performed by Lisa Martynova transported the audience three centuries back… The music was synchronised with the video series by Svetlana Noskova projected on the wall displaying images illustrating the four seasons and creating an immersive atmosphere for the listeners. This all, combined with elegant black concert outfits of the performers amidst the “minimalistic” interior of the Protestant church where the concert was held, created the lofty atmosphere of a classical concert.

The second part of the programme was a complete turnaround. To start with, the performers came out dressed in white … Wonderful melodic pieces acquired new sound in their interpretation: the virtuoso etude by Venyavsky performed by the duet Irina and Olga, Bach’s prelude brilliantly played by Irina and the works of Massenet, Kreisler and Tchaikovsky accompanied by the grand piano.

And, finally, for dessert, performed by two violins and piano were the works composed and arranged by Professor Igor Frolov of the Moscow Conservatory who creates his music both in classical and jazz styles. Igor Frolov is well known to musicians, but perhaps not as familiar to the wider audience.

“The Divertissement” for two violins and grand piano by Frolov was an “unmixed” cocktail of classical pieces alternating with jazz. It was a real pleasure to watch how the music changed the performance style, animation and facial expressions of our musicians. The last

two pieces: a fragment from the musical “Robert” and one of the most famous ragtime melodies were performed in Frolov’s arrangement in improvisational jazz style. The audience was in raptures over the performance bouncing and clapping to the music, which generally is not acceptable at classical concerts…

The night closed with ovations, calls for encores, flowers and happy faces. The delighted audience would not stop demonstrating their heartfelt praise for the musicians: Stunning!! There were a lot of exclamation marks on the night and the next day on Facebook: “Irochka, your concert was unique… !!! A virtuoso performance! You have charged us for months with your energy…!!!! Thanks to all the participants…! My God! You were all splendid!”

Perhaps the most important Facebook review for Irina and Olga came from their teacher Tatyana Tonkikh-Miller of the Ural Conservatoire: “I am proud of you, my dears! Keep up the brand. And how pretty you both are, just could not take my eyes off you! ”

We would like to add our own to all the enthusiastic reviews and are looking forward to future events. Thank you!

Prepared by Marina Pechorina,

translated by Elena Naumova