<< -- 3 -- Malcolm Miller KVAPIL IN CONCERT
Earlier, Kvapil's masterclass was held in association with the Royal
Academy of Music before a select audience of some thirty BPSE members and
friends, in the RAM's Concert Room on the afternoon of Sunday 16 February.
Kristian Chong (RAM) played Liszt's Dante Sonata with a fiery
delivery, Natasa Sarcevic (London College of Music and Media), one of the
competitors in the BPSE 2002 Intercollegiate Competition, performed Beethoven's
Waldstein Sonata, and Janácek's In the Mists was beautifully
performed by RAM student Tanya Bannister. Kvapil discussed each, covering
such points as Liszt's dual character of performer and priest, and
the way in which the music alternates between these two poles, the need
for rubato and delicacy of grace notes, and the use of colouristic
touch and layering, all demonstrated admirably from the piano. His remarks
were especially enriching in relation to Janácek, as he recalled
the playing and teaching of his own mentor Kundeira, a Janácek student.
Kvapil described Janácek as 'cruel to pianists', concerned with big
gestures and expression conveyed with only a few notes. In the Mists
was autobiographical, the title being a metaphor for the artist's state
of mind. It was pianistically challenging to create the required intensity
and expressionism, and thus colour and line were of utmost importance, as
also an improvisatory element.
An interesting instance of 'performance practice' was Kvapil's suggestion
of the addition of a lower octave in the last piece, for dramatic effect,
which he said Janácek would not have minded, as he was known to change
notes at the last minute in his orchestral works having heard them in rehearsal.
Several programmatic features of the works was brought out, such as the
'birds' of the first and second pieces, flurrying gestures that (in the
second piece) derived from the song cycle Diary of a Nobody.
Copyright © 18 March 2003
Malcolm Miller, London, UK