Sunday, May 31, 2009

Alessandro Deljavan (semifinal recital)

The last semifinal recital is a good one, though you could have predicted that with Deljavan playing it. He plays Schubert's Sonata in D major (D. 850), and it was even better than Bozhanov's Schubert. Not many pianists can do Schubert and Liszt equally well, but Deljavan's skill in narrative building helped wrangle these unruly works into shape. His playing is clear and thoroughly unsentimental, and it'd be dry if he weren't so warm and full of feeling, without any unnecessary underscoring of the emotion. (Unless you count his facial expressions, that is. Some people would. I don't.) His understanding of the structure made this Schubert sonata a riveting listening experience, and he made great use of the coy theme from the fourth movement. I could listen to this guy play Schubert all day, and there are very few pianists I'd say that about.

He then played White Lies for Lomax, and he didn't understand it (so there is something he can't do!) though he was gorgeous to hear, so he has that advantage over all the other pianists who didn't get it. Andrea Lam is the one who really got it.

He finished with Scriabin's Fifth Piano Sonata, and he singed the air with it. (Of course, if you don't singe the air with it, you're doing it wrong.) This delicately colored work erupts into violence and eroticism, and Deljavan did justice to its luridity without ever losing his attractive tone. He built up the tension into a hair-burning finale. What a discovery we've made with this pianist!

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