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Two piano recitals in Brisbane,
reviewed by GILLIAN WILLS


In the last six weeks, two of the world's finest concert pianists have given concerts in Brisbane. On 20 October 2007, the Brazilian pianist Cristina Ortiz was the featured artist in the Medici Concerts International Piano Masterworks Series. There are many who argue that Queensland is the most successful state in the provision of distinguished teachers and the training of successful solo pianists. Whether or not this is the case is debatable, but the immense popularity of this series with the pianophiles in Brisbane, is not.

Each year, three or four internationally acclaimed recitalists perform a ninety minute program. The repertoire is comfortable -- usually the evergreen blockbusters from the Romantic period including Schumann's mysterious Fantasy in C or a selection of Chopin's Etudes and very often sonatas by Schubert and Beethoven. Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition is another favorite.

Ortiz who presents as both formidable and vulnerable on stage, performed Schubert's A Minor Sonata D784 with a fiery edge, a shade heavy in the frequent tremolo interludes, but nevertheless, the result was a transparent and gripping, emotionally coherent reading. All the composer's yearning, questioning, despair and passion surfaced and vanished and re-emerged with élan, summonsed by Ortiz' colourful imagination, technical command and powerful personality.

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Copyright © 7 November 2007 Gillian Wills, Brisbane, Australia


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