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Steinway Hall was the venue for the final performance in this series, a full-length early evening recital given by Sujeeva Hapugalle, presenting almost a Who's Who of great pianistic composers, from Beethoven through the Romantic era, touching on Impressionism and some of the more localised Spanish and Latin voices. Four of the most well-known composers of the Romantic era featured in the first half, with Chopin's first Ballade, Schubert's B flat Impromptu, Liszt's Waldesrauchen and Schumann's Sonata in G minor. Sujeeva's playing throughout was warm and came from the heart, concentrating more on the overall picture or impression of each work than on detail. The result was at times spontaneous and vital, with a rhythmic freshness and bite, at times a little uncertain and haphazard, as in the Chopin where the rubato seemed more to aid technical difficulties than to serve any convincing musical end.

After the interval Beethoven's Appassionata was given the same free, almost rhapsodic treatment, obviously viewed through lenses tinted with Romanticism in the generous use of pedal and freedom of tempi. Ravel's Sonatine was equally Romanticised rather than refined, though capturing an impressive range of kaleidoscopic colours and tones. Sujeeva's style of playing seemed most at home in the final two works of the programme, Piazzolla's Adios Nomino and Ginastera's Suite de Danzas Criollas No 5 (as in the Chopin and Gershwin encores), which were delivered with a great panache and musical joy.

Copyright © 12 September 2004 Manus Carey, London UK





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