Mřstings Hus, Frederiksberg
Robert Schumann: Etudes Symphoniques op. 13 and posth.
Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsody nr. 6 D Flat Major
"Nina Kavtaradze plays with incredible mastery. Every chord is balanced, every rhythmic figure has cogency, every melody its sensual curve, everything totally effortless. But what particularly impresses is the concentrated musical content, the daring, but completely controlled rubato, and the impetuous artistic drive which permeates the playing. This is the great romantic piano tradition which lives on here at full sail with strong feelings, a warm heart and dramatic contempt for death. Nina Kavtaradze was a pupil of the legendary Lev Oborin (1907-1974) at the Moscow conservatoire and thus a pianistic descendant of Ferruccio Busoni (1866-1924) and again of his teacher, Franz Liszt (1811-1886). That is to say a tradition where virtuosity goes hand in hand with great pathos, and where the player’s personality and temperament become an important ingredient in the expression as a whole." Thomas Viggo Pedersen
"This is a highly distinguished recording in which many details are in evidence. One feels drawn to both the outward and inner vitality of Nina Kavtaradze’s brilliant playing." John Christiansen, Jyllands-Posten.
Order (DACOCD 681)
October the 18th, 2008
By Guylara Sadykh-sade
Kavtaradze belongs to the brilliant cohort of pianists, who graduated from the
Moscow Conservatory when it was in its heyday.
studied under Lev Oborin, and gives concerts worldwide, although she settled
permanently in Copenhagen with her family many years ago. “The Lioness of the
Piano” is one of the fitting nick names given to her by the critics. And it
fits her very well: a brilliant, temperamental, willful virtuoso, who plays with
an open, powerful tone, at full force – just as she lives her life.
career as a pianist started when she was only eight years old, when as a student
of the Central Music School – the legendary CMS – she performed for the
first time with an orchestra in the Pillar Hall of the Union House in Moscow.
After this came studies at the Moscow Conservatory. Contemporary students
included Gidon Kremer and David Geringas, and the pianists Mikhail Voskressensky
and Arkady Sevidov. Nina emigrated in the mid-70’s, and soon became one of the
most prominent artistic figures in Denmark. Concerts, recording CDs, various
invitations to festivals, jury duty at international competitions… CDs with
recordings of the collected piano works of Richard Wagner and Mussorgsky became
particularly famous: the German music magazine “Neue Muzikzeitung”, founded
by Robert Schumann, named the Wagner CD one of the ten best piano recordings of
the year 2000.
repertoire as a pianist is unusually broad, but mainly tends towards the
classic-romantic, with a dash of Soviet classics; Prokofiev and Shostakovich.
Bach, Mozart, Chopin, Schumann, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Skriabin. This
is the “Golden Fount” of the piano repertoire, which many “first class”
pianists command. However, what is particularly noteworthy about Nina, is the
style of playing: challenging, grand, daring. Perhaps not the way present day
pianists play. The time of “great pianism” with its pure pathos and
remarkable oratory gesture is over. Actually, Nina Kavtaradze carries the torch
of the “great Moscow piano style”, which is now impossible to find, even in
Moscow, no matter how hard one tries.
Kavtaradze was in St. Petersburg two years ago, where she took part in the
festival “Music of the Great Hermitage”. There she endured the dizzying
tempo of mid-twentieth century Danish composer Herman D. Koppel’s virtuoso
Concerto for Piano with impeccable artistry and steel. In the Small Concert Hall
she performed an exquisite Chopin programme, which elicited standing ovations
from the audience. During her latest visit Nina Kavtaradze performed far larger
pieces than the Waltzes and Mazurkas of Chopin. The first part opened with
Mozart’s Sonata in A-Major and five Preludes by Shostakovich. After these came
Liszt’s Rhapsody nr. 6, served with a dark expression, and then came the
grandiose Symphonic Etudes by Schumann, which demand an extreme expenditure of
latter composition is so technically demanding and long that hardly anyone plays
it nowadays. A rich, saturated, many-layered texture, pierced with shattering
passages of octaves and cascades of chords, presented in the regime of
polyphonic imitations, demanding of the performer not only a fine and accurate
ear – for the difficult tapestry of piano music that Schumann weaves demands a
discerning and differentiating listening. Indeed, the piece also
demands “muscular strength”: it is precisely for this reason that
“Symphonic Etudes” is primarily performed by male pianists. However, Nina
Kavtaradze, for all her seeming frailty, appears to have a spine of steel. She
wisely and calculatingly modulated the form of variation, all the while saving
her strength for the victorious, triumphant episodes of the finale. She did not
unnecessarily overdo the tempo where it might be avoided, and added liveliness
of tone and tempo, where it was indeed necessary. “Symphonic Etudes” was the
climax of the piano evening, and also its finale. A few miniatures by Chopin and
Skriabin played as encores rounded off the complicated piano marathon, which
stands as one of the most moving experiences of the season at the Small Concert
Hall of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic.
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