The two Chopin concertos with the Sacconi string quartet and Janina Fialkowska at the Chopin Society today.
Surrounded by friends I was reminded of the beauty of sound that had been so apparent the first time I heard her forty years ago.
It was the piece that Artur Rubinstein had advised her never to play in public ~ the Vallee d` Obermann of Liszt ……obviously he had never heard it as she played it that lunchtime at the Fairfield Halls all those years ago.
Today I was reminded of that sound,the very sound that had reduced Rubinstein to tears with her interpretation of the Liszt Sonata at his first Competition in Israel and had prompted him to take Janina under his wing.
Of course the new Steinway played its part too.
Beautiful to hear the aristocratic filigree of Chopin so clearly with just the quartet beneath.
We missed of course the sound of the full orchestra in the tuttis.
Swings and roundabouts one might say but it was a real lesson to be able to appreciate Janina’s aristocratically poetic way in the hallowed hall of the Chopin Society.
So many beautiful things to admire from the graceful way she slid into the last movement of the second concerto or the majestic poetry and subtle virtuosity of the first movement of the first concerto.
Admirable ensemble from the quartet able to follow the ebb and flow of Janina’s expressive playing .
Such was the simple logic of her playing that we were all swept along by such definitive interpretations of great sentiment but never sentimental .
Is that not the great lesson of her mentor Artur Rubinstein that had us flocking to his concerts in our student days to discover the secret of his disarmingly direct approach of incredible beauty.
A lesson well learnt from Janina much to the delight of all her students,friends and admirers present today .