Pataka piano recital pleases

Pataka Friends presents:
Piano Recital by Ludwig Treviranus

Rachmaninov: Études-tableaux Op.33  no.9 / Liszt: Transcendental Étude no.3, “Paysage”

Chopin: Étude Op.10 no.5 “Black Key Study”

Beethoven: Sonata Op.27 no.1 in E flat “quasi una fantasia”

Mendelssohn: Variations Sérieuses Op.54 / Ravel: Alborada del Gracioso

Mussorgsky: Five sketches from ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’

Ludwig Treviranus (piano)

Helen Smith Community Room, Pataka, Porirua

Sunday 30 June 2013

A brilliant programme played by a brilliant young Wellington pianist greeted an almost full room on Sunday.  All the music was played from memory and extremely competently; in many cases, superbly well.  Programme notes were very informative, yet brief.

Problems were to do with the room – painted walls on two sides of the piano and a low ceiling made for undesirable triple fortes at times, and in the opening piece and occasionally elsewhere, a brittle sound.  The performer needs to learn to adjust more to the size and acoustics of the venue.  The other problem was the squeaky piano stool.  Adjustable piano stools seem to be like the doors on public toilets – they’re never oiled, and always squeak or creak.

The Liszt piece was gentler and quieter until well on, thus we could appreciate the performer’s pianism better.  The well-known  Chopin study was played in a delicious style and manner.

I was delighted at the next item – one of my favourites of Beethoven’s sonatas, and certainly the one I have played the most.  As the programme note stated, it and its mate in Op.27, the ‘Moonlight’ sonata, are improvisatory in style, and played without breaks between movements.  A few skipped notes here and there did not cause great damage, although there was a little too much pedal for my taste at times; at others, figures were artistically turned without pedal.  The playing was beautifully expressive without unnecessary affectation.  The second movement’s syncopated notes were played too fast to fully reveal the syncopation between the hands.  Nevertheless, this performance gave me new light on a work I know well.

The variations by Mendelssohn were very inventive, and conveyed his usual good humour.  The playing was just a mite heavy-handed at times.  A virtuosic section contrasts with the quiet, thoughtful chorale played in the middle of the piece.  The first section repeated the rather brittle sound.  A good deal of prestidigitation was required.

Ravel’s piece from the piano suite Miroirs was given a lively performance, with plenty of staccato to lighten the texture.  It was a characterful rendering, but rather too loud.  After this piece, a friend and I moved further back in the room; we were not  bothered there by brittle sound.

Mussorgsky’s splendid musical rendering of his late friend Hartmann’s sketches is a superb landmark of the piano repertoire.  ‘Gnomus’ received fiery, electric treatment, with lots of character.  The final sketch, that brings the theme from the opening ‘Promenade’ to its apotheosis, ‘The Great gate of Kiev’ featured great dynamic contrasts.  This was a fine and accomplished performance of Mussorgsky’s appealing work, and played with splendid technique.

As an encore, Treviranus played a jazz arrangement of the ever-popular ‘Somewhere, over the rainbow’.

All those present would wish him well with his determination to make a career in New Zealand.



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