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Brazilian Eduardo Monteiro
plays at Wigmore Hall and talks to
BILL NEWMAN about his varied musical life


This [Wigmore Hall, London UK, 14 November 2007] was a recital with a designed difference to the norm where music by Heitor Villa-Lobos and his lesser-known colleagues -- at least to British listeners -- namely Francisco Mignone, Oscar Lorenzo Fernandez and Leopold Miguez, were pitted against masterworks by Beethoven and Liszt. The beaming countenance of the young Monteiro as he took his bow immediately promised a stream of delights in store for the well-behaved audience, obviously curious not only about the highly coloured harmonic-rhythmic content of unfamiliar works, but also how standard and popular favourites would fare by comparison.

Soon it became obvious that the words 'exceptional throughout' would qualify for this particular evening's entertainment. Much preparation had gone into actual programme planning and here was an ardency of performance that brought out the expressive qualities of each work's musical character that never distorted its composer's original intentions. The interpreter's particular aims were to match his quieter, exquisite passagework with a bolder, exciting rhythmic approach that denoted, as he later admitted, 'a release of musical passions which showed my excitement and fondness for Beethoven's Appassionata Sonata in part one, and Liszt's Apres une lecture du Dante -- Fantasia quasi Sonata, at the close.' But as his encore it was the celebrated Hungarian's transcription of Wagner's Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde that finally brought the 'house down'.

In the Beethoven and main Liszt contributions, the pianist's style of approach was to broaden his shoulders during bravura sections, paying close attention to changes of finger positions during phrase turns and trills. This brought forth the comment: 'Too much movement!' from my distinguished friend and critical colleague Peter Feuchtwanger, but I have to accept and admire all the endless work being done throughout the world to preserve and protect performing artists from unnecessary strains by relaxing their essential body muscles.

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Copyright © 29 March 2008 Bill Newman, London UK


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