A FINELY CRAFTED PROGRAM - The Coast Reporter March 18, 2005

The eagerly anticipated joint recital debut by widely acclaimed Canadians Libby Yu, pianist and Yegor Dyachkov, cellist, at the Raven's Cry Theatre Sunday proved to be as close to perfection as one could hope for.

Their finely crafted program presented by the Coast Recital Society, encompassed compositions by Bach, Debussy, Brahms, Chopin and Canadian Alexina Louie, an impressive span of almost 300 years of musical creation.

The duo launched into Debusssy's one and only Sonata for cello and piano (1915). It was apparent that the invidious World War I had influenced the composer's mood and mindset and tendency towards laconcic compositions. This Sonata is only 11 minutes in length.

Debussy's rich melodic and harmonic language, however, found a new and intriguing expression, despite the conflict of German and French civilization being for him a violent reflection of the musical conflict he dealt with in his entire life.

Libby and Yegor took the quick mood and tempo changes and the composer's apparent penchant for melancholy in stride and their resulting masterful display brought out the sun in the Raven's Cry.

Our young artists then turned to Alexina Louie's work Bringing The Tiger Down From The Mountain (1991) the title derived from a Tai-Chi (Chinese martial art) sequence of stylized physical movements (usually involving meditation).

Yu and Dyachkov, keenly adaptable to the Vancouver-born composer's innovative musical peculiarities, were full measure for turning this work into a winner, cello glissandos and all to the amusement of the capacity attendees.

The tuneful Sonata Op.39, no.1 for cello and piano by Johannes Brahms, considered as his Elegiac or Pastorale, completed this afternoon concert.

Their music was played with free-flowing spontaneity and tone control, both showing a compelling sense of the music's architecture, not the least, a snappy taunting coda.

For their encore, they obliged the strong ovation by appreciative listeners with the popular encore Scherzo from Shostakovich's Piano and Cello Sonata Opus 40 and Debussy's soulful melody Beau Soir.

- Ross Brougham