BILL NEWMAN reviews
two recitals by pianist Igor Tchetuev
The romantically inclined Schumann Arabeske Op 18 is music that the inventively minded pianist Igor Tchetuev can revel in. [Wigmore Hall, London, UK, 26 May 2009.] Everything is gloriously tuneful, caressive, full of ardent charms and originality. The player displays the turns and the trills, charming his listeners as he weaves his loving spell. The Chopin (12 Etudes Op 10) was a tour de force and you realize that the left hand contains even more notes than the right. Igor has the poetry of a Cortot and the panache of Richter. The Lyadov (Variations on a Theme of Glinka, Op 35) is a rarity, but he is paying homage to the Russian Father of Music, Mikhail Glinka. A folk-steeped atmosphere is common to both and conjures up invention and fairytale. The artist's singing tones and phrasing convey their soul-like message.
Everyone wondered what brand of virtuosity would set off the unfortunate Petrouchka, although Stravinsky's version for solo piano only contains three of the most famous excerpts from the complete ballet and was intended for Arthur Rubinstein. While he probably brought the house down at his opening performance, I would guess that Igor Tchetuev collected more of the pictorial element for display purposes, such was the tremendous feeling for the stage work's thrilling atmosphere.
I doubt whether lovers of piano music will hear keyboard artistry of this calibre and overall excellence again during the current season. The Wigmore production team obviously went to immense trouble to provide one of their finest Steinways for the occasion, and this particular recital by one of the finest young Russian performers on the circuit was memorable, immensely pleasing and outstanding among London events.
Igor Tchetuev's Cadogan Hall programme [11 June 2009: opening piano recital to mark the Zurich International Concert Series] was substantially the same as for his Wigmore Hall recital on 26 May. Omissions were Chopin's Etudes 1-5 from Op 10 and the Lyadov Variations on a Theme of Glinka.
An entirely different audience, of course, came to this event. Considering the changes in acoustic where a more open sound allowed for the wider perspective of forthcoming orchestral concerts, this hardly affected the overall enjoyment as heard by a packed audience. It is amazing, also, just how consistent the playing was, comparing the two events, but this is the hallmark of all great artists.
A future concert on Thursday 13 May 2010 at 7.30pm will feature Pavel Kogan (son of the violinist, the great Leonid) directing the Moscow State Symphony Orchestra. Borodin's Polovtsian Dances from Prince Igor and Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade will frame Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No 2. The soloist will be -- you've guessed it -- Igor Tchetuev.
Copyright © 3 September 2009 Bill Newman,