Sun. Apr 5th, 2020

Kissin before Beethoven



Beethoven piano sonatas no. 8, “Pathetic”; 17, “Tempest”, and 21, “Waldstein.” “Variations op.35, Eroica”. Piano: Evgeny Kissin. Ibermúsica. National Auditorium of Music. Madrid, 10-II-2020.

We met Evgeny Kissin (Moscow, 1971) by the hand of Alfonso Aijón / Ibermúsica three decades ago. He came as a child prodigy and astonished us all. So young, he amazed even Karajan, who hired him to record together a few months later a “First” of Chaikovski already historic. He has visited us many times since then and, not only has he never left us indifferent, but we have usually been enthusiastic about his Schumann, Liszt, Chopin … even Schubert.

Another song or better another piano is that of Beethoven, composer in full annual celebration and, how could it be otherwise, which is also now very specially approached by this Russian artist recording several of his sonatas. Presenting a full program of sonatas of a single composer in a concert is always risky because of the monotony that can occur in some spectators. It happened recently, in the same cycle, with the violinist Leanidas Kavakos. Hence the intelligent selection proposed by Kissin, with three sonatas of the most popular and the addition of the “Variations op.35, Eroica”. Beethoven expresses it very well Pedro González Mira in his weekly recommendation in Beckmesser.com, it is necessary to touch it from the classicism but surpassing the classicism. Kissin is on his way to it, but has not yet reached the goal. Sometimes it sounds too energetic, as it happened in the initial “Pathetic”, in which he had to be grateful that he did not try to “invent” in that “Adagio cantábile” in which others have fallen too much into personal fantasy. In the “Tempest” was perhaps more noticeable the use of the pedal, an excessive point for Beethovenian classicism, although – it must be said – it never blurs the sound, which always has the virtue of clarity. In this quest to overcome classicism, you will have to delve into the art of subtlety, an aspect that is evident in the “Waldstein”.

And, how could it be otherwise, the best of the program came from the hand of the very difficult “Variations op.35, Eroica”. It was a complete display of virtuosity, as perfectly suited to this score as an excessive point for the rest of the program. Then, tips, with more Beethoven as it could not be otherwise, the “Andante grazioso, quasi allegetto” of the “Seven Trifles Op.33”, the “Six variations in D major, Op.76” on the subject “Nel cor piu non mi sento” from “La Molinara” by Paisiello …. Another great Kissin recital, more or less adapt your Beethoven to everyone’s taste.

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