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Rachmaninov's Six Moments Musicaux, an early work, on the other hand, showed us a bigger, more romantic player of boldness and panache. Like the great Idil Biret, she revealed a more masculine treatment to the second half of the work: a presto, adagio sostenuto, and a maestoso which contains florid expertise and a certain amount of repetition which would benefit from more subtlety of touch than shown here.

Liszt's Three Concert Studies -- Il lamento, La leggierezza and Un sospiro -- allow for more license in this respect, and benefit from a greater 'vocal' line that counterbalances and matches the composer's penchant for highly charged, emotive writing with the ability to window-dress chains of melodic writing with a profusion of decorative outpourings. During the second and third numbers I wondered if the molten charm of our contestant was going a little too far to bring passionate commitment towards a breaking point which would disrupt their liquid propensities -- so finely caught by the legendary Louis Kentner -- and bring about a changing state of mental turmoil ... then I thought: 'perhaps a youthful viewpoint is equally acceptable?'

The even more extrovert Rhapsodie Espagnole, which has more notes than most pianists care to cope with, was bravely done, but I hearkened back to the glowing, straightforward and evenly paced performance of the late Gina Bachauer. A great deal of promise, however, is already indicated by Evelina Puzaite's colourful renditions.

Copyright © 12 March 2007 Bill Newman, London UK



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