Boris Kuschnir at the
Verbier Festival Academy

Masterclass Media Foundation

A valuable chance to see and hear a Russian master pass on musical wisdom

Watching masterclasses is always a rewarding experience and this DVD focusing on the first two movements of Mozart’s Fourth Violin Concerto K218 is no exception. As the latest in the Masterclass Media Foundation’s archive project, we have as mentor Boris Kuschnir, a pupil of Belenky and Berlinsky in Moscow with close connection to Shostakovich and Oistrakh.

In this age of historical awareness the viewer will see, in the tutor as well as excellent students Maia Cabeza (first movement) and Albrecht Menzel (second movement), a style of Mozart playing that is highly conservative (and vibrato-laden) – a detailed glimpse into the Soviet-era manner of performance, perhaps. How much this matters depends on what you think Mozart is about – but what we do get here, unquestionably, is the benefit of Kuschnir’s detailed, incisive and (in respect of the lesson with Menzel) at times quite blunt feedback – the pedagogic content is thus of universal value.

There is an atmosphere of utter concentration and devotion to the art of violin playing which one cannot help but share. Detailed technical work with the students is extremely valueable, making this disc an enthralling experience for all students of the violin. The students play beautifully and the classes are recorded unobtrusively and sensitively.

David Milsom, The Strad Magazine, October 2013