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Piano Festival ends in style

Musical marvel: the Bermuda Piano Festival featured some stellar performances (Photograph supplied)

Bermuda Piano Festival, Concert 3

Alex Tuchman, artistic director

Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art

June 22, 2024

My knowledge of the works of avant-garde Hungarian composer Gyorgy Ligeti (1923-2006) was limited to music in Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and his free-form composition Atmospheres, which was beautifully constructed white noise.

This concert opened with his very different Five Pieces for Piano four hands played by Vladimir Rumyantsev and Eteri Andjaparidze.

The March began conventionally enough with slightly tongue in cheek martial triumphalism but then just faded out. The Polyphonic Etude was a study in counterpoint which ended suddenly with a bang. Three Wedding Dances consisted of two wonderful Brueghelian knees-ups, framing a rather sad ballad-like tune.

The Sonatina and Allegro both finished with unexpected endings, a bit like an opera singer laboriously drawing breath then walking offstage. Rumyantsev and Andjaparidze were the perfect team for this tricky and thoroughly enjoyable music.

Andjaparidze was then joined by her student Svetlana Egorova in the fittingly chosen Haydn’s Il maestro e lo scuolare (Teacher and student). The work was a series of exercises in the form of variations; the teacher played each phrase on the bass and the student copied it in the upper register. Each eight-bar section was different and presented increasing challenges. Haydn was a master of this form and his sense of fun shone through these delightful exercises, all of which Egorova played perfectly.

Schumann’s 1851 Five Pieces in Folk Style played by Inga Kashakasvili with Sumire Kudo on cello represented another contrast in the programme. Kudo’s cello played multiple roles. In the first piece (Vanity of Vanities) it sounded like a slightly drunken voice overheard in a public bar, butting in and cutting off other conversations. In the second (Slowly) it took on a singing voice in an intensely lyrical, romantic melody which could pass for ballet music. In the third and fourth (Not Too Fast and Strongly Marked) Kudo played folk ballad melodies, ending with dramatic, percussive bass.

Italian composer Nino Rota’s 1973 Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano was played by Pavel Vinnitsky (clarinet), Sumire Kudo (cello), and Alex Tuchman (piano).

Rota’s music is best known for its part in Fellini’s films. It is public parade music and this trio started with Allegro, a marching oompah piano bass under Vinnitsky’ brilliant, insouciant melody, soon joined by Kudo’s cello.

The energetic pace continued into the Andante with a more flighty, lyrical clarinet over cello shimmer. The final Allegrissimo picked up the melody and then moved the whole trio slowly up tempo, ending with all instruments performing at impossible speed.

Tuchman and his team are to be congratulated, not only for bringing us this wonderful music gratis, but also for their work (also gratis) to help students with master classes and private lessons at the Bermuda School of Music.

Donations to the Bermuda Piano Festival can be made via the Masterworks Foundation

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Published July 02, 2024 at 7:59 am (Updated July 02, 2024 at 7:18 am)

Piano Festival ends in style

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