Kissin the Conqueror

Kissin the conqueror

programme in Rome
Another superb Beethoven recital from a reborn Kissin ready to join the elite.
After his memorable “Hammerklavier” in London last year Kissin in this 250th Anniversary year is offering his own homage to Beethoven.
From a “Pathetique” shorn of all rhetoric to a “Waldstein” of Ferrari type propulsion .
Framing an “Eroica Variations” in the relms of the Gods and a “Tempest” Sonata of rare beauty.
Dynamic contrasts but always in complete context with a very precise rhythmic bass was the hallmark of a superb performance of Beethoven’s op 13 “Pathetique” Sonata.
A flowing Adagio with a truly beautiful cantabile and very telling support from the bass.
A duet between the melody and bass was indeed to cherish and led to a very mellifluous Rondò.
It was the same beauty that he found later in the “Tempest” Sonata where there were great layers of sound with a glow that allowed the melodic line to appear as if by magic in the Adagio grazioso.
The entry of the Rondò Allegretto was quite magical and had the same flow and sense of contrasts that had bewitched us from the outset in the “Pathetique.”
It was the same musical conversation that he had found throughout the “Eroica” Variations op 35.
Already there are Beethoven’s great rhythmic interruptions but with contrasting legato playing of great beauty and sense of character.

The Symphony Hall S.Cecilia in Rome
The “Waldstein” I have not heard with such rhythmic energy since Serkin’s memorable performance in London.No glissandi for Kissin (Serkin used to wet his fingers to lubricate his glissandi) but today beautifully glided scales up and down the keyboard on the crest of a wave that swept us all along in a quite remarkable performance where total technical assurance was allied to a musical and intellectual control that must be quite unique these days.
Two early Bagatelles op 33 n.1.and 2 and the variations op 76 on “The Ruins of Athens” crowned a recital that not since Serkin or Arrau have we heard the like.

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