23. 01. 2012

Kieler Nachrichten (Christian Strehk)

Scriabin’s Priestess: Pianist Anika Vavic

If the subject is Alexander Scriabin’s music, nothing is likely to stop Serbian pianist Anika Vavic. No amount of travel, no flu can stop her from promoting his cause again in Kiel, after already appearing here at the Philharmonic Concerts in December. She is even writing a novel on the Scriabin phenomenon.

Stargast der Musikfreunde: Anika Vavic
Stargast der Musikfreunde: Anika Vavic

Vavic followed her charming advocacy with solid pianistic arguments as well: playing feverishly and hyper-sensitively at her recital, presented by the Musikfreunde, she wove the Poemes Op. 32 and especially the more progressive, idiosyncratic, tension-filled Morceaux Op. 51 into the acoustics of St. Ansgar's Church - like quasi-religious, mystically shrouded echoes of Romanticism.

Fragile poetry, the rarified sound-imagination of the Russian composer, who is difficult to grasp, even when considered as a spiritual relative of Debussy's, blossomed wonderfully under her hands.

Work was like life, Scriabin once postulated, consisting of "the interplay of contrasts and of struggle, of contrast, of soaring and crashing".

Bringing out these contrasts in Scriabin's important Sonata in F-sharp-Minor Op. 23, but also in Robert Schumann's Kreisleriana Op. 16 with its whimsical twists and turns, was harder for the pianist. Obviously, she was unwilling to cut back on her breakneck tempos and use of pedal in the acoustically highly difficult, over-reverberant church, and thus she risked struggling blindly through clouds of sound and sometimes crashing - all in keeping with her temperament. Thus, it was mainly the lyrical moments which were captivating, boasting long breaths and a cultured touch.

Great applause and several shouts of "Bravo!" were rewarded with wonderfully floating Schubert sounds - in homage to her adopted home of Vienna.

Translation: Alexa Nieschlag


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