Ivan Krpan at home for Le Salon de la Musique

https://christopheraxworthymusiccommentary.wordpress.com/2020/11/15/ivan-krpan-in-zagreb-croatian-national-archive-hall-pridepassion-and-joy/

J.S.Bach Partita in B flat BWV 825 Prelude-Allemande-Courante-Sarabande-Menuetto 1-Menuett 2 Gigue; F.Chopin Nocturne op 9 n.1 in B flat minor;B.Bersa Nocturne op 38 ; F.Liszt La lugubre gondola n.1; B.Bersa Venetian Barcarolle op.58

As with his playing of the second Partita by Bach that Ivan played recently in Zagreb it is the absolute clarity,beauty of sound and crystal clear ornamentation that show off the maturity of a pianist who is still only in his early twenties.Today he chose the most calm and pastoral of the six partitas.It was with the Prelude of the first Partita that he created such a tranquil opening ,similar to the 5th French suite where Bach is leading us into a world of peace and almost Schubertian lyricism.There is a purity of line where you can almost hear the human voice which Ivan allowed to flow without any seeming interruption or unnecessary external influences.He brought the Prelude to a natural emotional climax from which poured the continuous web of streaming sounds of the Allemande.Very slightly holding the first note of the first few bars giving such poignant meaning to what is just a trickle of pure and simple sounds.His great sense of legato contrasted so well with the deliberate non legato of the Courante played with some very delicate phrasing always in perfect style.The luminosity of sound in the Sarabande was quite startling as was the almost operatic freedom of the long deeply felt singing lines.The Menuetto 1 was played with great buoyancy and a very deliberate crisp and clean non legato that contrasted with the musette of the Menuetto 2 played with much more lyrical freedom.The little glissando into the repeat of the Menuetto 1 was a deliberate and delicious addition.The Gigue was played with a well oiled precision almost without pedal except in the repeats where Ivan allowed us to treasure even more what Bach had only hinted at the first time around.

There was a complete change of scene for Chopin’s first nocturne op 9.A beautiful bel canto fully sustained by the subtle left hand harmonies.The middle section even more bathed in pedal.A wondrous melodic outpouring rising out of the water like some sunken cathedral!Rising above the mist with a passionate outburst of sumptuous colours.Only to die away to a whisper before the reappearance of our bel canto but this time with a reticence that was so touching as it moved to it’s magical ending.

It led so well to the beautiful sounds of Bersa’s Nocturne full of such subtle colouring and passionate outbursts.I have written just recently about Ivan’s performances of Liszt La lugubre gondola 1 and Bersa’s Venetian Barcarolle.Ivan’s playing of late Liszt is quite remarkable.Playing of such depth of feeling in it’s unbearable anguish and insistent longing .He makes us realise the true genius of Liszt who could portray so much with so little as his visionary search late in a very full life could lead the way for what was to come in the future.The ending was deeply moving as it was dramatic.

The Bersa Barcarolle was played with beautiful golden sounds on which floated a magical mellifluous outpouring .I have written above more fully about the almost unknown composer Blagoje Bersa much celebrated in Croazia.In fact the school where the six year old Ivan Krpan took his first steps in piano playing is named after him!

Ivan Krpan was born in Zagreb in 1997 into a musical family and began studying the piano at the age of six at the Blagoje Bersa Music School in Zagreb, under the tutelage of Renata Strojin Richter. From 2013 he has been studying piano with Ruben Dalibaltayan at the Music Academy in Zagreb where he obtained his master’s degree in 2019. He has won several first prizes in national and international piano competitions; prize wins of note include first prizes at the 12th Piano Competition “Les Rencontres Internationales des Jeunes Pianistes” Grez Doiceau in Belgium in 2014, the International Piano Competition Young Virtuosi in Zagreb in 2014, the International Piano Competition for Young Musicians in Enschede (Netherlands) and the Ettlingen International Competition for Young Pianists. He achieved 2nd prize in the International Danube Piano Competition in Ulm in 2014 and same year he won a special prize awarded by the Dean of the Zagreb Music Academy and the 4th prize at the 1st International Zhuhai Mozart Competition in Zhuhai, China. He also won the annual Ivo Vuljević prize awarded by the Jeunesses Musicales Croatia for the best young musician in Croatia in 2015. In 2016 he won the 3rd prize at the 10th Moscow International Frederick Chopin Competition for Young Pianists and the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra has granted him the Young Musician of the Year Award. At the age of twenty, Ivan Krpan has won the Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition 2017, one of the world’s most prestigious piano competitions. 2018/2019 season saw him performing in important Italian cities as Venice, Rome, Milano, Turin, in major music centers as London, Vienna and Hong Kong as well as a tour in South Korea in collaboration with the World Culture Networks Foundation and Steinway & Sons. He also had an important tour in Germany (Munich, Hamburg, Leipzig, Dusseldorf, Dresden, Hanover), and an extensive tour in Japan. For the first time the Ferruccio Busoni International Piano Competition Foundation has produced a studio album, which it has made available exclusively on IDAGIO, a leading streaming service for classical music. In May 2018 Mr. Krpan took to the legendary Emil Berliner Studios in Berlin to record Chopin’s 24 Préludes and Schumann’s Fantasie op. 17 and Arabeske op. 18. Classical music lovers around the world can hear this exceptional recording exclusively on IDAGIO.

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