Violinist Yasen Stamenov makes a solo debut
Young hopeful Yasen Stamenov gave his fist solo concert at the Catholic Cathedral of St Joseph, Sofia on 6 June 2018 with the exclusive participation of his tutor Evgeni Nikolov. His piano accompanist was Maria-Elena Sredeva.
Yasen Stamenov began taking lessons at the age of six to then study at Lubomir Pipkov National School of Music, Sofia. His tutors were Novislav Mikhailov and Verustinia Shtur-Ovcinnikova. He has been trained by his present tutor Evgeni Nikolov since autumn 2017. Presently, he plays a violin by Anton Schuster, courtesy of Vlado Tilev Foundation.
His concert was occasioned by his participation in Il Piccolo Violino Magico, an international competition for young violinists aged 9 to 13, held in San Vito al Tagliamento, Italy. This year just 16 young violinists have been selected to compete.
The young violinists joins various initiative launched by the Catholic cathedral and Focolare Movement (Work of Mary). One of those was the staging of a musical, Life, Love, Light, inspired by the life of a young girl, Chiara Luce Badano, who had a painful form of bone cancer and was beatified after her death. In the event, Yasen both played and sang. The musical was released on CD.
Parish priest Jaroslaw Babik opened the concert delivering a welcome address broaching the young violinist’s will to make his solo debut at the church on the eve of his birthday so as to thank the Creator for his God-given talent.
The opening piece was a duet with his tutor Evgeni Nikolov, Part One of Concerto for Two Violins in D minor, BWV 1043, known as the ‘’Bach Double’. It felt as if the adult experienced violinist appeared on the stage to pass the baton on to his student. The student, in his turn, should feel the helping hand lent at the beginning of this test. They sounded formidably together: the tutor’s certainty and experience combined with the student’s emotionality and enthusiasm.
Yasen continued alone with Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 2. His engrossed emotion-filled playing free from unnecessary showiness impressed.
The possibility to render the beauty of the Baroque period music was shown by Yasen in Vivaldi’s Winter concerto from The Four Seasons. Though the piece is very popular, the young violinist succeeded in showing his own attitude towards it, confirming the impression of concentration and virtuosity. His strong suit here were the fascinating musical phrases he coined to present them to the audience.
The programme continued with Sarasate’s Introduction and Tarantella, a piece requiring technical training and strongly expressed musicality, qualities that Yasen demonstrated convincingly in his preceding performance. Here he presented a lot of light, ethereal flageolets and phrases impregnated with overtones and emotions played on the lowest string.
What the next piece, Viotti’s Violin Concerto No 2, impressed with was the slower tempi as was with Mozart’s Concerto . Yasen demonstrated his brilliant technique and exceptional musicality nonetheless. A striking moment here was the cadenza, which evinced both virtuosity and the magic of the violin, which could sound as a single instrument, but also create the impression of many people playing many violins.
The closing piece was a seemingly easy but very emotional Cantabile by Paganini that allowed the audience relishing the perfumer’s musicality and a nice savour at the end of the concert.
Apart from Evgeni Nikolov, he was greatly aided during the concert by piano accompanist Maria-Elena Sredeva, who made every effort for the piano texture to sound as an entire orchestra. That was the right choice for at the competition Yasen is going to play with an orchestra rather than a piano alone, which poses a real challenge to any young performer.
The general impression of the concert was an unexceptional easiness with which Yasen Stamenov copes with all technical difficulties in the repertoire, which is after all the challenge any concert performer ought to meet: their play should create a feeling of easiness, which to be conveyed to the audiences. Yasen Stamenov’s musicality, virtuosity and talent were no secret to any member of the audience, who all deep in their hearts hoped to listen to him again and again. May the Italian audiences share this experience so as he to convey the spirit of the classics steeped in a Bulgarian talent!
 It is disputable as to whether faster tempi render the works more ‘contemporary’ or not. In this particular case, however, slower tempi retain the relation to the respective period, while a more contemporary sound is due to the new instruments and the performers, of course.
Снимки: Виктор Стойнов