In The Mists

Composer(s):
Janacek, Liszt and Rachmaninov, Schubert
Works:
Janácek: In the Mists; Schubert: Piano Sonata in A minor, D784; plus works by Liszt and Rachmaninov
Performer:
Ivana Gavric (piano)
Label:
Champs Hill Records
Catalogue Number:
CHRCD 009
Performance:
starstarstarstarstar
Sound:
starstarstarstarstar
5
Reviewer:
BBC Music Magazine

Ivana Gavric has chosen to link this outstandingly recorded programme of Janácek, Schubert, Liszt and Rachmaninov through the title of JanáΩek’s marvellous suite In the Mists. The connection may seem rather tenuous (as Gavric´ openly admits in her booklet notes), but her playing is altogether of an extraordinary calibre. 

Comparing her playing of the Janácek with that of Richard Saxel’s of On an Overgrown Path (see review p92) is instructive. While Saxel projects a feeling of loneliness and anxiety, Gavric´, employing a greater range of colours, nonetheless presents a far more imaginative and involving interpretation that responds fully to the almost schizophrenic nature of the musical argument. 

Gavric’s performance of Liszt’s Petrarch Sonnets is also fresh and imaginative, the cantabile melodic line supported by warm and sensuously nuanced accompaniment. Likewise, she has a real empathy for the dark and brooding timbres of the Rachmaninov.

Yet the real centrepiece of her recital is the Schubert A minor Sonata. It’s a work whose quasi-orchestral textures don’t always lie particularly well under the hands. Yet Gavric  overcomes the problem most convincingly, bringing all the necessary weight to the forceful passages in the outer movements but without ever producing a harsh and uncompromising tone.

At the opposite end of the dynamic spectrum, she invests the slow movement with a beautifully veiled lyricism as well as a deeply unsettling sense of mystery. Erik Levi

 

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