Sunday, February 24, 2013

Aglaia Graf

Swiss Pianist

Good pianist, interesting programme. Swiss, daughter of veteran pianist. Peter Lukas-Graf. Venue, Swiss Church in Endell Street, Covent Garden, handsome –plain white room, altar the only clue to its ecumenism – alas, dreadful acoustic, bathroom style, fortes distorted.

Nice Schubert Sonata, the smaller one in A major, melodies to the fore but never running too long.

Next, Chopin's Andante spianato, not the best of this composer but some truly magical moments. Followed by Prokofiev a piece that I have never come across before in sixty years of recital-going with the title Après des vieux cahiers Opus 29, alternately gruff and rough like the second Concerto for piano, and lyrical, listener-friendly more like the third of his five.

The next work showed the pianist as a composer, talented at that. It was the world première of Announcement (of what we were not vouchsafed) the five-minutes of its duration gave no definite hint – hatch, match, despatch, certainly not bankruptcy. It featured one tone repeated many times, almost like a Fantasy on One Note. It paralled Le Gibet of Ravel but never sounded like that composer.

Finally, two of the Moments Musicaux of Rachmaninoff, one slow, one faster, not vintage S.R., no gorgeous lyrical passages but skilful wandering.

Aglaia is rising 27, pretty, nice manner on the platform, should have a successful career.
But I would have to hear her in surrounding more conducive to enjoyment than this Swiss church to write a meaningful review.

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