Maria Mo: a fine recital by a promising artist at St Andrew’s

Maria Mo – piano 

Beethoven: Piano Sonata in C, Op.53 (Waldstein)
Albeniz: Iberia, Book 1
                Evocación; El Puerto; El Corpus en Sevilla

St. Andrews on The Terrace

Wednesday 17 April, 2019

Mario Mo is a talented young pianist at the threshold of her career. She has won awards and scholarships, studied with Katherine Austin at the University of Waikato and then at the Vienna Conservatory and the University for Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. She has had a thorough grounding. She played an ambitious programme.

Beethoven stretches the limits of the piano in the Waldstein Sonata and apart from a few glitches Mo coped with these challenges capably. The problem was that because the work is so well known it is hard not to draw comparisons with performances by some of the great pianists. Mo is a thoughtful performer who paid a lot of attention to the phrasing, the dynamic contrasts and melodic flow of the piece. I am sure that with greater experience and maturity her playing will acquire greater fluidity.

The Albeniz pieces were more successful. Albeniz, virtuoso pianist, one of the foremost composers of the latter years of the 19th and the first decade of the 20th centuries had a significant influence on composers of a younger generation, Debussy and Ravel among others. His piano pieces were based on Spanish folk idiom. The best known of these works is Iberia. Mo played these pieces with a delightful freedom bringing out their lovely Spanish lilt. Evocación set the spirit of the work, El Puertocaptured the busy port, expressed through the use of the zapataedo, a lively traditional Andalusian dance. El Corpus en Sevilla is the longest and most dramatic of the three movements. It is a colourful depiction of the Spanish celebration of the feast days of Corpus Christi with its solemn march, religious fervour and ecstasy. It called for a great tonal range and sharp contrasts. Mario Mo gave an enjoyable account of these pieces. This was a fine recital by a promising artist.

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