08. 07. 2010

Helsingin Sanomat (Hannu-Ilari Lampila)

Anika Vavic Plays a Russian Landscape

The Concerto’s composer, Rodion Shchedrin, seems pleased with the pianist’s interpretation

Mikkeli. The Georgian pianist Alexander Toradze had been scheduled to perform the 1982 Piano Concerto by his father David Toradze (1922-83) at the Mikkeli Music Festival.

However, Toradze had to cancel his appearance for health reasons, and instead, the young Serbian pianist Anika Vavic performed the Fourth Piano Concerto by Rodion Shchedrin.

The composer Shchedrin was present personally to hear the concert, and one had the impression that he was very pleased with the brilliant, heroic soloist, in whose hands the piano sounded orchestral and rich.

The beginning of the Fourth Piano Concerti is like a dusky-grey Russian landscape where the orchestra part flows along sadly and darkly, while the piano wanders about with rough and melancholy, quasi-improvised thoughts.

The listener starts wondering how long he has to immerse himself into this boundless, mystical Russian melancholy.

Gradually, the calm river of music swells, and its colors begin to transform themselves. Occasionally, the orchestra features gruesome, dark colors and raging, threatening powers.

The first movement does not culminate in a catastrophe, but in a colossal, ecstatic Russian celebration, where bells ring and resound ear-numbingly, the folk-music-like Prazniek is heard and demonic instincts bellow. Holiness and depravity meet. Very Russian.

In the second movement, the pianist has a furious, metallically hammering outburst. After the orchestra and the pianist's outbreak, they calm down again, creating an equilibrium which the pianist seemed to be searching for tentatively even before the concert, as if in a premonition.

The original roots of the concert lie deep in the past. The piano figures are sometimes reminiscent of J. S. Bach; Mussorgsky, Stravinsky and Prokofiev also seem to hover in the background.

Translation (from German - Kalevi Aho): Alexa Nieschlag

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