Zala Kravos at St Marys A born musician of great artistry and intelligence

Thursday 25 May 3.00 pm 


Playing of real beauty and originality that was born from her natural musicianship.Even Chopin’s Funeral March played so slowly,but so beautifully and nobly that it could have gone on forever.A thing of beauty is a joy forever and the artistry and beauty of all she did will long remain in my memory.There was the same sense of style as Gelber to her Beethoven,where any sharp edges were smoothed over without in any way taking away from it’s dynamic energy.The final note with it’s impossible crescendo was smoothed over to make musical sense without taking away anything from the intrinsic meaning of the composer.Technically impeccable because every note had a meaning in a chain that was part of an architectural whole.’Words without thought no more to heaven go’ Nadia Boulanger would quote from Shakespeare to insensitive students and it was this heavenly message with Zala that came across so directly because of her musicality of such eloquence.A gift from heaven indeed!A timeless beauty to the slow movement that was played with great character.Throughout her performance too the bass had played such an important part as the anchor on which she was free to sail freely with sensitivity and intelligence.

Very interesting to discover the sound world of Francoise Choveaux and to hear Zala’s performance with it’s ‘Le Gibet’ continuous tolling bell around which a universe is described with vivid imagination and a startling kaleidoscope of colours.The words of a famous comedian come to mind as he plays what he described as the Grieg Piano Concerto – the conductor aghast at such noise asks him what is he doing.’ I am playing the notes of Grieg but not necessarily in the same order ‘. Just to say that Zala played notes maybe in a different order and style from what we are accustomed to,but the way she made it speak was the same language ,that of music,that had been a hallmark of a remarkable recital.

Francoise Choveaux was trained in the Lille Conservatory of Music CRD, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Musique de Paris, the Institute Peabody of Baltimore and in Juilliard School of New York. She performed in prestigious festivals in France, in Europe, in Asia, in the United States and in Brazil.

Françoise Choveaux takes up with a musical tradition anchored in the 19th Century. She is a composer but also a pianist. As of today, she has already written more than 280 opus for all instruments and all formations, from solos to symphony orchestras. And her works are performed in Europe (France, Italy, Germany, Russia, Belgium, Baltic States), in Asia and in America.Numerous live recordings and in studio were made of her music, among which the integral works of her quartets recorded by the famous Vilnius Strings Quartet.As pianist, she stood out as an privileged interpreter of French music: the international and specialized press approved by a large majority her recordings (10 Repertoire, 5 Diapasons) of the complete works for Darius Milhaud’s piano in world premiere.

Some Chopin playing of real beauty and style.Four Mazurkas op 30 plus another Mazurka as an encore were played with flexibility and a beguiling sense of style.It was here that her true artistry shone brightly There was such subtlety and ravishing colours allied to a sense of dance and fantasy that made each one of these gems a miniature tone poem where Chopin could say so much with so little.

A very dramatic start to the B flat minor Sonata with a sforzando at the end of the introduction that was a call to arms.She has such a forceful character that convinces because it is part of a musical conversation of such directness and simplicity.The repeat back to the ‘doppio movimento’ showed her assertive character as she was certainly not repeating the introduction that is hotly debated these days.A simple direct and logical musicianship in which debates or discussions have no meaning for her.The Scherzo sounded a little stilted to me as the accent on the final note of the bar,although written by Chopin,was rather exaggerated and disturbed the natural flow of the music.Her technical command ,though,was never in doubt here or in the perpetuum mobile of the ‘wind over the graves’.The central episode of the Scherzo and the Funeral March were played with ravishingly hypnotic beauty.The ‘Più lento flowed so naturally and was shaped with the same natural beauty that she had brought to the Mazurkas – to the manner born indeed.The Funeral March was played more Adagio than Lento ,a subtle difference,but it was totally convincing as was the masterly control of the ultra slow trio.Her searching for a melodic line in the Presto was laid before us without apology and like all she did was totally convincing.

Born in Slovenia in July 2002, Zala was initiated into music from the age of three in Brussels and received her first piano lessons at five in Luxembourg. At six, she entered the Conservatory of the City of Luxembourg , where she has obtained all available diplomas in piano performance and several diplomas in music theory. From 2012 to 2018, she studied in parallel at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel (Belgium) with Maria João Pires and Louis Lortie. She is currently in her last year of the BA (Hons) programme at the Royal College of Music , studying with Norma Fisher. Every year from 2009 to 2014, she won several national and international competitions in Luxembourg and France and in 2016 in the USA, where she was invited to play at Carnegie Hall. Since then, she has been focusing on concert performances. 

Since the age of six, she has been performing regularly and has already played in eighteen countries, including China and the USA. She has participated in festivals in a dozen European countries. She also plays with orchestras, chamber music and piano duet with her younger brother Val . In 2018, she was nominated for the prize ‘Export Artist of the Year’ in Luxembourg. In 2017, at fourteen, she recorded in Germany her debut solo album, well received by the critics and the media in seven European countries.

Zala Kravos at St Mary’s The simplicity and intelligence of a true artist


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