“So here was Farkhad Khudyev, with the score memorized, putting this piece through its paces—his paces. The long slow introduction to the first movement, itself energized by a combination of mystery and anticipation, captured the audience’s attention, while the full vivace erupted with all requisite energy. Yet of the four movements, this one felt most enthralled to its rhythmic drive. The succeeding allegretto, by contrast, saw much greater elasticity, following the conductor’s now freer expressive phrasing. Its variations, in
contrast to the example of Haydn, were both more concise and, as the movement unfolded, sustained and expansive.”
“The third movement, a scherzo with trio, saw an even greater display of Khudyev’s podium technique, from broad brush strokes with little fuss over details to dropping his arms motionlessly with only his shoulders and, presumably, facial expressions providing guidance. (He did the same thing in the quiet fugal episode in the allegretto.) Meanwhile, Khudyev made this movement as big as the first, drawing out the trio section’s ‘pilgrim’s hymn’ which flattered the winds. Per the score, it interrupted the scherzo twice, adding a
recall just before the final iteration of the scherzo material.” Then the young guest conductor pounced on the final sonata-allegro movement, driving it as fast as I have ever heard it live, ripping through to a breathtaking conclusion in under nine minutes. The reaction on stage and in the audience was explosive.