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Contrasting pianists




A Wigmore UK inaugural début recital on 18 April 2005 with sponsorship suggests a lot of faith in a young artist from Romania who from the age of six onwards received tuition from various teachers, notably in Switzerland and Stuttgart, continuing elsewhere with the more familiar Maria Joao Pires, Joseph Kalichstein and György Sebök. Krisztina Wajsza went on to win First Prizes, including a Vladimir Horowitz Scholarship. Mozart appears to be her speciality. Sonata in C minor K457 was performed in wonderfully buoyant fashion, finely graded in its tonal differentials and poignantly balanced as all fine Mozart should be. Hans Urs Zürcher, a Swiss composer of some distinction, makes interesting sounds while attempting to cohere his ideas, but one wishes for subsequent hearings of Earth Sounds and Sounds of Spheres. What a strange idea to end the first half with Chopin's Fantasy in F minor, probably his greatest single work for solo piano. It began rather tamely, I am afraid, and started to fall to pieces after the first fortissimo downward scale. Scriabin, in the shape of the early 13 Preludes Op 11, was better but required greater elaboration overall. Bartók's 1926 Sonata doesn't sound her piece, either, but I sense more authority behind the glamorous facade: visually there are indications of more rewarding results once nervousness is dismissed.


The Odessa-born pianist featured at the Wigmore Hall on 5 April 2005. Successes in the Rachmaninov (Moscow) and Clara Schumann (Düsseldorf) Competitions led to extensive tours, bookings with Fedoseyev and Thielemann, an artist residency at the Murten Classics Festival in Switzerland and a jury nomination at the Arthur Rubinstein Piano Competition, Poland. A somewhat difficult young man to assess at first hearing, he favours a non-demonstrative approach with some rather nice pastel shadings at the service of the Romantic colourings so applicable in Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov. Some of the tonal increases, however require better use of the sustaining pedal. Tchaikovsky's The Seasons (complete) showed a sense of boldness in the first half, but I would have welcomed a selection instead with the Dumka and some Songs without Words to break the monotony. His Rachmaninov was far more successful with the rarely heard Elégie Op 3 leading into Six Preludes: in B flat major, G major, G sharp minor, C minor, C sharp minor and G minor respectively. For some unknown reason this 'real firework at the piano', as Berliner Kurier describes him, decided to indulge in some scene shifting of his own devise during the last two with some minor panics en route. Three of his own song arrangements -- A-u!, How fair this spot and Spring Waters made a better impression.


St Martin-in-the-Fields welcomed back the popular Greek pianist for a lunchtime recital on 27 May 2005. Patrick 'The Sky at Night' Moore's Nocturne, dedicated to her, always has additional embellishments each time she plays it. A sensitive, attentive audience greeted her performance with smiles of appreciation. Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition was quite splendid and augers well for future bookings.

Copyright © 4 August 2005 Bill Newman, Edgware UK







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