PIANO RECITALS: Martin Roscoe Wigmore Hall, London Piotr Anderszewski Queen Elizabeth Hall, London
Jack, Adrian, The Independent (London, England)
People can sing Szymanowski's heart-throbbing Etude in B flat minor without knowing another note of his music. It made a well-earned encore at the end of Martin Roscoe's Wigmore Hall recital last Thursday, after the rarefied atmosphere of the Polish composer's Masques. Stokowski arranged the Etude for orchestra, but the fabulous inventiveness and kaleidoscopic colours of Masques would offer a far more interesting challenge to someone with a flair for orchestral wizardry. The three pieces might be called the connoisseur's alternative to Ravel's Gaspard de la nuit or Miroirs. They are not merely hedonistic, but elevate eroticism into something sharply objective and sophisticated.
Instead of Ravel, which would have been too much of a good thing, Roscoe played the three Masques after Debussy's second set of Images, showing more confidence than we had a right to expect. He is such a good pianist, it seems churlish to add that he hasn't quite the range of touch, the sheer glamour, for the Szymanowski, which ought to dazzle. But he was a lot more in command of Masques than of the Variations on a Polish Folk Song which Szymanowski wrote some 12 years earlier. They're a superbly pianistic party piece, not far from the style of Scriabin's music of the same vintage, and in conventional formal terms, arguably a more fluent and lissome example of long-term planning than anything Scriabin wrote at that time.
The contrasts of the 10 variations are totally convincing and the finale, incorporating a fugue that soon dissolves into swirling gestures, is a magnificent peroration. Roscoe gave the impression of slight caution, of holding something back for fear of losing control, but this extravagant music ought to sound fearless. Still, after excellent performances of Chopin's First Ballade and Two Nocturnes, Op 27, we could only be grateful to him for giving us the rare chance to hear this splendid work. On Sunday afternoon Piotr Anderszewski opened his Queen Elizabeth Hall recital with …
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Publication information: Article title: PIANO RECITALS: Martin Roscoe Wigmore Hall, London Piotr Anderszewski Queen Elizabeth Hall, London. Contributors: Jack, Adrian - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: May 14, 1997. Page number: 21. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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