THUNDER BAY, ON - October 24, 2012 - It is not often that we get to hear the music of the Scandinavian countries in Thunder Bay. This is particularly true of the chamber works of these great composers. SKYE is a musical entity which is backed by supporters from the local Finish community. Erik Johannes Riekko serves as the Artistic Director for a three concert season.
IKONIT, the first recital of the series is so named because a composer Einojuhani Rautavaara (b 1928) a metaphysical composer became fascinated with the iconography common in the Orthodox and other churches in the region. His composition Ikonit is an honest attempt to musically realize the persons and situations of the people depicted in his chosen icons.
This is very serious music, modern and to say the least challenging to play. Pianist Natalia Mirzoeva calmly approached the piano sat down and poured out her soul in the performance of all the pieces in the programme. Her technique is simply astounding, but more importantly I think she realized the ideals of Rautavaara better than he could have imagined.
After a quaint bow she returns to the stage to play two pieces by Alexander Scriabin. His piano sonata #5, Op 53 and piano sonata #0 Op. 68. Once again she spares no energy on emotions or excess motion. All of her being is fully concentrated into bringing the Russian Composers music back to life. Playing music at this level requires nothing less than total concentration on the part of musician. Once again this music is not an entertainment but an experience of the human emotion. I was awed at how well she performed this music.
After the intermission the programme belonged to Sergei Rachmaninoff. The B flat minor Sonata was the anchor of an evening of very serious music. The speed of the passages, and the strength of the chords would cause most pianists hands to cramp up and crash and burn, but not Natalia. More and more the composer pushed the musician to the very limits of endurance, without mercy and Natalia’s deep and solid focus lead her through the music from beginning to end.
I have heard of the technique of advanced players and even studied Alexander technique for musicians in an attempt to grasp how to perform cleaner and with fewer errors. For me this has offered a great improvement but only on the rarest occasions have I ever heard someone so dedicated to her music as Natalia Mirzoeva. The programme was rare in that we seldom hear this music in the City. The performance of this music was nothing short of astounding. Many thanks!
For this piano I noticed that the usual piano at Hilldale Lutheran Church was under wraps and that the Crittal Piano was used. A better piano no doubt but this points out that there are only a few pianos in the city capable of playing music of this sort very well. Good pianos are expensive and they need to be constantly maintained. It would be nice to have a reputable concert grand piano in first class shape for recital work.
The next SKYE recital will be on January 20th 2013 at Hilldale Lutheran church beginning at 8:00 p.m. It will feature music by Schubert, Snittke and Shostakovich for strings an piano.
Arts Editor: LakeSuperiorNews.com