Programme of works by Bach, Ligeti, Chopin and Grieg
Belfast Telegraph Review
Peter Jablonski, Belfast Music Society Festival, 23 February
(N.B. change of soloist for this concert, Stephen Kovacevich indisposed)
RATING: 4 stars
One man’s indisposition is another’s opportunity, and Swedish pianist Peter Jablonski, deputising for an indisposed Stephen Kovacevich, proved an intriguing substitute on Saturday evening at Belfast Music Society’s International Festival of Chamber Music. Part of the intrigue was the programme that Jablonski brought with him, which centred on a rarely heard work by Hungarian composer Gyorgy Ligeti. Musica Ricercata is in eleven movements, in the course of which Ligeti references Liszt, Chopin and even Debussy, in the context of his own robustly tensile, steely keyboard idiom. Jablonski’s playing was superbly well-tooled technically, with forensic terracing of dynamics, and an ability to make audible individual notes within tightly clustered chord sequences. His account of the closing Andante moderato e tranquillo, a fugal homage to the baroque composer Frescobaldi, was beautifully weighed and measured pianistically, unfolding with impressive gravity of utterance. A similarly scrupulous sensibility informed Jablonski’s patiently probing traversal of the Augmented Canon in Inverted Motion from Bach’s Art of Fugue, which opened the concert. Thoughtfulness, rather than self-advertisement, was also the keynote of the Chopin Mazukas and Lyric Pieces by Grieg which came after the interval, and while the Grieg Ballade was resoundingly virtuosic in places, it was the poetic restraint of Jablonski’s playing which left the more enduring impression. At encore time, he unleashed his more flamboyant side in Earl Wild’s transcription of Gershwin’s Embraceable You: a delectable tailpiece to a recital rich in interest and thought-provoking musical content.