Outstanding recital for Friends of Music. (Review by Michael Green)
The 26-year-old Russian pianist Alexander Lubyantsev was given a standing ovation by a large audience when he had completed an outstanding recital for the Friends of Music at the Durban Jewish Centre.
In a programme ranging from Haydn to Ravel he demonstrated a remarkable keyboard technique combined with an unfailing interpretative insight into the music he was playing. He comes from a musical family, to put it mildly; back home in St Petersburg his father, mother and four sisters are all professional musicians. No doubt his natural gifts were able to flourish in this environment.
He opened with a Haydn sonata, a typically original and vigorous work from this great composer, played with fluency and grace. One of Rachmaninov’s Etudes-Tableaux (study-pictures) followed, written in 1917, difficult to play and rather modern in style, possibly an eye-opener to those who tend to belittle the music of this Russian master.
Chopin’s Nocturne in C minor, Op. 48, No. 1, was another interesting choice on the programme. It is a big work, not typical of most of the 21 nocturnes that Chopin wrote. Here the pianist’s dynamic inflections between pianissimo, very soft, and fortissimo, very loud, were most impressive.
Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz No. 1 produced an astonishing display of virtuosity. This is one of the most difficult pieces in the repertory, but Alexander Lubyantsev’s calm keyboard demeanour was hardly ruffled as his fingers raced up and down and his hands delivered rapid octaves. A truly exciting performance that brought the audience to a pitch of enthusiasm.
Beethoven’s Sonata Op. 110, the 31st of his 32 piano sonatas, offered music of a very different kind. It was by some distance the major work of the evening, and here the pianist showed his good musical judgment, playing with deliberation and with restraint. The sonata’s brilliant final fugue was a triumph.
Finally, extreme virtuosity returned in Maurice Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit, three descriptive pieces that are exceptionally taxing for the pianist, especially the third, Scarbo, the impish dwarf. They were another huge success for the pianist and a delight for the audience.
The Prelude Performer of the evening, was the viola-player Emily Bishai, an American girl who is a pupil at St Henry’s Marist College in Durban. Accompanied by Bobby Mills at the piano, she played two movements of a sonata by Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767). – Michael Green
Friends of Music is funded by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund.
Written by: Michael Green
Alexander Lubyantsev in concert
Moira de Swardt: This young Russian pianist dazzled the Johannesburg Musical Society audience on Saturday 10 March 2012.
Alexander Lubyantsev was a child prodigy. He has won numerous piano competitions and he is now busy with a concert tour of South Africa.
During the week he played Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto with the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra and on Saturday 10 March 2012 he played a recital for the Johannesburg Musical Society.
He played the Haydn Sonato in E Minor, Rachmaninov Etude Tableaux Opus 39 No 7, Chopin Nocturne in C Minor, Liszt Mephisto Waltz No 1 followed by the Beethoven Sonata No 31 in A Flat and ending with Ravel’s fiendishly difficult Gaspard de la Nuit, the final movement (Scarbo) of which is considered to be one the most difficult solo pieces ever written.
He started wonderfully, technically superb, with a clean and sure touch. As he moved through each piece Lubyantsev played it even better than the one that went before. The audience loved him and made him play three encores. I did not recognise the first two, but the third was Rimsky Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee.
In its 110th year now, the JMS has contributed to the musical enrichment of the City of Gold, presenting both the talents of South African performers and of world famous international artists.
Season tickets for 2011 are a very reasonable R950 for the best seats. Reduced prices (depending on category as low as only R300 for the ten concert season) are also available for those willing to take cheaper seats and for students. One-off concerts for students and scholars is only R25.
Forthcoming concerts are:
Sunday 1 April 17:00 (Pallavi Mahidhara on piano)
Sunday 13 May 17:00 (The Charl du Plessis Trio with Musa Sakupwanya, vocalist singing “The Gershwin Songbook”)
Sunday 10 June 17:00 (Avigail Bushakewitz on violin and her brother, Ammiel Bushakewitz, on piano)
Saturday 11 August 20:00 (Antonia Pompa-Baldi on piano)
Saturday 1 September 20:00 (Fidelio Trio)
Sunday 30 September 17:00 (Wolfgang Emmanuel Schmidt on cello and Bryan Wallick on piano)
Sunday 13 October 20:00 (Konstantin Scherbakov on piano)
Saturday 17 November 20:00 (Inon Barnaton on piano)
All concerts take place at The Linder Auditorium which is situated at the Education campus of the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), 27 St Andrews Road, Parktown. Telephone 011 717 3223. GPS co-ordinates: 26° 10′ 54.6456″ S, 28° 2′ 29.8932″ E. There is plenty of parking in front of the venue, with more to the sides and behind the auditorium. Facilities for physically disabled patrons are available. The Olives and Plates Cafe is open before the concert and during interval for wine, tea and snacks.
Written by: Moira de Swardt
Publication: Artslink. co. za