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<<  -- 2 --  Lawrence Budmen    POETIC CHOPIN


Chopin of a more classically proportioned variety was on display the preceding evening (14 May 2004) when the Argentinean pianist Nelson Goerner made his South Florida début playing the Twenty Four Preludes Op 28. Inspired by Johann Sebastian Bach's The Well Tempered Clavier, Chopin created a set of preludes in all twenty four keys -- major and minor. Chopin's unique sense of color and harmony abounds in these poetic evocations. Goerner revealed a rock solid keyboard technique, a sense of subtle restraint, and great musicality in these shining miniatures. The Raindrop Prelude had the requisite lightness of touch. Always Goerner was seeking a greater musical statement -- a broad, cascading line flowed throughout the set. That Goerner can set the piano ablaze in fireworks was confirmed by his brilliant realization of one of the Paganini Etudes by Franz Liszt as a post Chopin encore. Goerner's finest music making came in Franz Schubert's autumnal Sonata in D, D850. Here was patrician Schubert playing that had a soaring lyrical line and spacious nobility. The melting lyricism of the second movement, robust vigor of the Scherzo, and lilting, felicitous charm of the Rondo finale capped a beautifully proportioned, warmly idiomatic performance. A fascinating musician!

The festival's opening concert (12 May 2004) presented a feast of great chamber music. From the first bars of Johannes Brahms's Piano Trio in B major (in the composer's 1890 revision) the crystalline, pearly toned lightness of pianist Ilya Itin's playing produced the most exquisite Romantic aura -- the rich, deeply resonant sound that is the essence of Brahms's music. The splendidly sonorous string playing of violinist Vesna Gruppman and cellist Mark Kosower made the deeply lyrical Adagio an almost reverential experience. Gruppman's bracing attack and Kosower's warmly resonant tone enlivened the Allegro finale. A wonderful interplay between the piano and string instruments made the performance of Franz Schubert's Piano Trio in B flat major D898 (dating from 1820 -- the final year of the composer's life) a total delight. With Itin's light touch the third movement Allegro seemed to dance off the keyboard. The noble lyricism of the Andante un poco mosso and the Viennese charm of the finale were given incisive voice by violinist Ariana Kim (currently a pupil of Robert Mann at New York's Juilliard School and concertmaster of the Juilliard Symphony) and Kosower. Kim's soaring tone and passionately felt music making brought a true Romantic glow to the Piano Trio in G minor Op 3 by Ernest Chausson. This French composer's chamber works are his greatest creations and deserve a major revival. The melodic inspiration in this score is worthy of Tchaikovsky! The beautiful Assez lent movement recalls Wagner's Tristan and Isolde in its heated, passionate beauty. The score's piano writing is almost orchestral in scope. The dynamic Yugoslavian virtuoso Misha Dacic played with glistening tone and exhilarating brilliance and virtuosity. A wonderful rarity in a magnificent performance!

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Copyright © 15 June 2004 Lawrence Budmen, Miami Beach, USA


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