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<<  -- 2 --  Malcolm Miller    PROMS BEFORE THE PROMS


Alon Goldstein's recital opened with the less often played C major sonata (1825) by Schubert. Its expansive, often elusive syntax was conveyed with finely graduated dynamics, and an inwardness that infused each element with significance: the chordal motifs of the first movement and chromaticism of the second movement gaining resonance in the warm acoustic. Malleability of phrasing, sonorous textural layers gave an orchestral tapestry to four Debussy Preludes, from Book II, from the vigorous efflorescence of 'The Wine Gate', splashed with vibrant stripes, to the piquant sarcasm of 'General Lavine, eccentric'. An affinity for the impressionistic, yet impulsive rhythms of Debussy was further developed in the evocative tableaux of Janácek's In the Mist. Each of the four movements was vividly characterised, the yearning of the first, the contrast of a curious limping theme with a logically developed motif in the second, the cool polyphony of the third and impassioned finale. Chopin's F minor Fantasy was an ideal conclusion, impassioned, tender, dramatic, full of fire. After this exhilarating interpretation, redolent of the finest of Chopin pianists, Goldstein rounded off his recital with an iridescent, pearl like E flat Impromptu by Schubert as encore.

The following day the mezzo-soprano Ruti Halvani gave a delightful lunchtime recital accompanied superbly by William Hancox and joined on occasion by the tenor Neil Allen. Ms Halvani's richly developed timbre well suited the opening set of Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky songs, the Russian language incisively projected and the passionate intensity of the text conveyed with subtle dynamics, and conviction. Since winning the Leoncavallo Competition in Switzerland, Ms Halvani frequently appears in oratorio and has recorded a CD celebrating 200 years of American-Jewish music. Her dramatic range and tonal breadth were especially well displayed in Four Israeli Folksongs in evocative arrangements by the Israeli composer Menachem Wiesenberg. The stirring melody and rhythmic desert drum-beats of 'Kovu Orot' (Lights Out) were contrasted by the more tender 'Eli, Eli' (My God) and syncopated Sephardi modality of 'Dodi Li' (My Beloved). Powerful characterisation coloured duets from Carmen and Bernstein's Tonight, with the tenor Neil Allen, whose bright edged tone was stirringly projected in 'Maria'. A selection of wittier songs, including 'I'm easily assimilated' from Bernstein's Candide, with its Iberian flavours, highlighted Ms Halvani's versatility and concluded on a highnote.

Copyright © 3 July 2001 Malcolm Miller, London, UK




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