Ivelina Krasteva beauty and simplicity at St Mary’s All the world’s a stage

Tuesday April 27 4.00 pm 

Ivelina Krasteva (piano)

Mozart: Fantasy in C minor K475 Adagio-Allegro-Andantino-Più allegro

Beethoven: Sonata in E major Op 109 Vivace ma non troppo — Adagio espressivo —Prestissimo—Gesangvoll, mit innigster Empfindung. Andante molto cantabile ed espressivo

Brahms: 7 Fantasies Op 116 Capriccio. Presto energico (D minor)Intermezzo. Andante (A minor)Capriccio. Allegro passionato (G minor)Intermezzo. Adagio (E major)Intermezzo. Andante con grazia ed intimissimo sentimento (E minor)Intermezzo. Andantino teneramente (E major)Capriccio. Allegro agitato (D minor)

A gorgeous recital – beautiful playing throughout. Here is the HD version https://youtu.be/JeXTN7qwIhg .

A terrific recital to use Dr Mather’s words where his long suffering piano today found someone who could allow it to express all the love and beauty that it can reveal in the right hands.I am reminded of Tobias Matthay and his famous school which included Myra Hess and Moura Lympany never capable of making ugly sounds.
Well another young lady just showed us that today in a repertoire that was very much of a Hess or Kovacevich.

A Mozart Fantasy where all the world’s a stage and we were treated to opera on a grand scale.From the very first notes where a string quartet was in play with the deeply contemplative depth of sound and the beautifully searching melodic line.The question and answer amongst the characters dying away to a whisper before the questioning opening returns to complete the scene.The left hand melodic line given great weight and meaning as it moves higher and arrives at its terrible inevitable conclusion.There was excitement too with the sheer drama of the Allegro where the menacing bass notes were aided and abetted by the fiery tremolandi.The absolute precision with which she threw herself into the fury of the Più allegro was just as astonishing as it must have been for the audience in Mozart’s day as were the sheer orchestral sounds of the slurred arpeggios with their calming chordal response.The final pianissimi chords on high made the reappearance of the opening intense notes even more poignant as it gradually blew itself out with a final surge of energy.


It was a panorama that she opened for us where every note spoke to the next as in her scrupulous attention to Beethoven’s meticulous indications in his Sonata op 109.
This more than any other was a work that Myra Hess moved a world as Ivelina did today .They showed us Beethoven’s vision of life with the deep restrained contemplation with which like Bach he ends his journey through life with acceptance and nobility.The first movement had an overall shape of grandeur with a tender almost pastoral longing as it flowed in and out like the stream of life.Dolce,forte,piano,crescendo, piano ,crescendo ,piano all within the first few bars that give some indication of the silent world that Beethoven inhabited.Without doubt a better world than he had suffered all his irritated life.All played with such serenity and simplicity but with a beauty of sound that was quite overwhelming.The prestissimo created a surge of energy with its continuous forward movement where even the quieter sections had a certain ominous presence and there was a final irritated swipe to finish.There followed Beethoven’s almost Nimrodian acceptance of what life had offered him in what is surely his most clearly defined benediction.The theme was most beautifully shaped with such quiet authority and inner feeling .The total rhythmic mastery of the third variation followed the utmost delicacy of the second and the scrupulous attention to detail in the first ,which is probably the hardest to interpret without falling into banality.There was a feeling of circular movement to the fourth variation that was very moving with Beethoven’s own pedal effects just adding to the magic of creation that was in his own head and private ear.The Allegro of the fifth was thankfully ma non troppo,never rising above the forte that is indicated and not always noticed by lesser interpreters.It was at this point that in Moura Lympany’s recital for us in Rome she screamed that she could see five pedals.Poor Moura she was able to finish the recital but it was the beginning of a stroke that was to hit hard a year later.The magical return of the theme in all its glory and mystery signalled the sixth and final variation.Passion and celestial sounds combine dissolving into the deep contemplation of the return of the theme ( or aria in Bach’s case) played with an aristocratic simplicity where even the final chords were judged to absolute perfection.


There was a complete change of sound for Brahms as the velvety sumptuous sounds flooded these emotional gates that Brahms’intimate being had kept to himself for too long.Like Beethoven who had come to terms with life too ,they were able to share their true inner feelings at the end of their lives via the magic world of music.There was passion in the opening Capriccio with a full orchestral sound created by a superb sense of balance and a magic transformation by a sense of touch and subtle use of pedal.Octaves just thrown off so delicately on their downward path on which the melodic line spun its passionate web.What questions there were in the beseeching search of the Intermezzo in A minor.Entering into the centre of Brahms’ most intimate self with glorious celestial sounds from on high.The deep melancholy of the andante was so poignant – can only three notes mean so much ?That,of course is the art of the true interpreter and so rare these days where young musicians are cultivated in the Russian repertoire that seems to require many more notes to say much less !What a lesson and an eye or should I say ear opener today.I remember Serkin listening to a young Murray Perahia and admonishing Richard Goode for not telling him quite how good he was!

A capriccio in G minor of astonishing sweep but also with such shape .A sumptuous ‘un poco meno Allegro’ like a great hymn to life played with glorious resonant sounds.An Intermezzo Adagio in E major of heart melting intimacy with such exquisite sounds of tentative tenderness in reply to Brahms’ deep sighs.Clouds parting in the dolce una corda interval before the celestial ending.The eery Intermezzo in E minor played with a superb sense of phrasing that gave such sad yearning to the sparse notes. The almost hidden explosion of ecstatic melody before the sublime resolution.The flowing Intermezzo in E major with the beauty of the middle section played with an exquisite sense of colour that led to the mysterious entry of the Intermezzo before the gradual disintegration to the magical drawn out final resolution.The final Capriccio Allegro agitato burst onto the scene but even here Brahms had a Schubertian outpouring of melodic invention to share .The passion at the end was even more remarkable for its control of sound and colour.
Music that can talk to the soul is music to cherish indeed.
Thank you dear Iva for reminding us that it is quality not quantity that makes a true artist.

Ivelina Krasteva was born in 1998 in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. She started to play the piano at the age of 4. Two years later she got accepted in the National School of Music and Dance in Plovdiv, where she studied with Elena Velcheva until her graduation with distinction in 2017. Currently, Ivelina is acquiring her undergraduate degree studying as a HWE and WL Tovery Scholar with Ronan O’Hora and Katya Apekisheva at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Ivelina has received numerous awards from international competitions such as first prize and a livestreamed recital on Radio Plovdiv from the International Piano Competition “Schumann-Brahms” in Plovdiv, Bulgaria; third prize at the Pera Piano Competition in Istanbul, Turkey; second prize at The Golden Keys Piano Competition; third prize at International competition “Wiener Pianisten”, Vienna, Austria; and others. In addition to her studies, she has worked with internationally acclaimed musicians, such as Itamar Golan, Boris Petrushansky, Paul Roberts, Charles Owen, Noriko Ogawa, Stephan Moeller among others. As a dedicated chamber musician, Ivelina has worked in various ensembles and has been a prize winner in numerous competitions such as the First prize at the International Music Competition in Belgrade, Serbia, category “Chamber music”, as a part of a piano trio, 2016. She has received tuition from the Endellion Quartet, the Gould Piano Trio, Carole Presland, Caroline Palmer, Adrian Brendel, Ralf Gothoni, Levon Chilingirian. Ivelina has given concerts both as a solo pianist and with orchestra. She has performed in several countries – Bulgaria, Turkey, Austria, Romania, Italy and the UK. Highlights include a performance of Prokofiev’s First Piano Concerto with the Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra and Mozart’s 24th Piano Concerto with the Vratsa State Orchestra. Days before the UK lockdown Ivelina won the Coulsdon and Purley Concerto Competition, which will result in her concerto debut in the UK in the next season, performing Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto no.3 with the Worthing Philharmonic Orchestra under Dominic Grier. Throughout her education, she has been supported with scholarships from the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture, the “Prof. Lyuba Encheva” Foundation and the Henry Wood Accommodation Trust.

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