10. 09. 2004


Waltzing Around and Around

The Austrian Cultural Forum's Mostly Modern festival, an annual fall series of free recitals and chamber music concerts that intriguingly mix older works with more recent and unusual ones, began on Tuesday night with a recital by the pianist Anika Vavic, who was born in Belgrade but lives in Vienna. As usual for concerts at the Forum, on East 52nd Street near Fifth Avenue, the hall was packed.

...Ms. Vavic's wide-ranging program was titled "Walzer, Waltz & Co.," and not since the New York City Opera presented Stephen Sondheim's "Little Night Music" last year has the town had such a full evening of music in three-four time. Not every dance in three-four is a waltz, though, as Ms. Vavic proved by beginning with a stately minuet that Mozart wrote when he was 13. Next came a selection of dances by Schubert, mostly Lndler (an easy-going Austrian version of a waltz) and German dances (essentially hearty, countrified waltzes), some French-infused Valses Sentimentales, with a few duple-meter Ecossaises thrown in, all of which Ms. Vavic played with a light touch and a dancing lilt.

It was a great idea to go from the Schubert to Ravel's exuberant apotheosis of the waltz, the "Valses nobles et sentimentales." ...Two works from the 1990's by a Taiwanese-born composer, long a resident of Vienna, who goes by the name Shih, came next, including "Der Letzte Walzer," described by the composer as a meditation on the waltz. ...She ended her program wonderfully... Having begun with a work from Mozart's childhood, she ended with Cage's playful and brilliant "Suite for Toy Piano" from 1948, playing the work on an endearingly tiny, old-fashioned, one-and-a-half-octave toy piano that fit on her lap.

[ original article ]

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