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<<  -- 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.

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Copyright © 18 March 2003 Malcolm Miller, London, UK


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