KIAZMA Piano Duo: Shostakovich and Harrison


Confirming that Dwell Classical Music is Again, the Melbourne Recital Centre managed to schedule two concert events that overlapped by way of timeframe and potential viewers. For these reluctantly forgoing an attractive program of Mendelssohn and Bartók by Rathdowne Quartet, KIAZMA Piano Duo’s pairing of Shostakovich and Harrison proved irresistible.

Aura Go and Tomoe Kawabata have been dazzling audiences with their virtuosic technical abilities, musicality and considerate programming for a number of years now, and this live performance was no exception. Bathed in a fiery glow, the stage was appropriately set for some scorching Shostakovich. Each pianists appeared firstly of the live performance, but it surely was Kawabata who performed 5 Preludes for piano (1919) whereas Go sat quietly on the second piano. A perky percussive Allegro started the collection of contrasting miniature actions encompassing playful and meditative traits. These Preludes additionally acted as an acceptable prelude to the meat of the live performance.

As a precocious sixteen-year-old, Shostakovich composed his Suite for 2 pianos, Op. 6 (1922) in response to the demise of his father. Virtually thirty minutes lengthy, some critics have discovered fault with its repetitiveness and lack of improvement. It’s true, that the broad tolling theme that dominates the opening Prelude – within the foreground or as a type of inescapable idée fixe – and recurs within the three subsequent actions, turns into insistent, however it’s equally a chilling reflection of the composer’s mind-set as he finds himself, his mom and his older sister in fairly horrifying monetary and political circumstances. Within the fingers of gifted pianists, the impact is a dramatic accumulation of emotional power. After the shocking vitality of the Unbelievable Dance – no mourning bells there – the Nocturne introduced some terribly orchestral-sounding mixing as the 2 pianos merged in an virtually Romantic outpouring till the tolling prevailed as soon as extra. The 2 pianists displayed spectacular coordination within the Finale, at one within the rhythmic, tonal and dynamic variations.

Kawabata accomplished the set of Shostakovich’s early piano works with deft readings of Three Unbelievable Dances, Op. 5 (1920). Once more, these have been miniature items that exposed an interesting lightness of contact and sense of humour on her half.

Pianistic fireworks have been taken to a brand new stage with the world premiere of Crunch by Holly Harrison, an rising composer with a world status. She has already obtained many commissions and awards and was the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra’s composer in residence throughout 2020 and 2021. It was an intriguing piece of programming to juxtapose piano works by a younger Russian with these composed virtually precisely 100 years later by a younger Australian.

Sitting shut collectively on separate piano stools, Kawabata and Go launched Crunch with an emphatic stamp. Then they (and we) have been off on an thrilling experience of 5 uninterrupted actions of rhythmic depth. The work attracts inspiration from honky-tonk, blues, punk and grunge music, its title referring to dissonance and rhythmic punch, explored in quite a lot of settings for four-hand piano. Harrison’s background as a percussionist is obvious in the best way she employs the percussiveness and physicality of the piano. In her informative program observe she describes how every motion “experiments with a unique thread or imagining of ‘crunch’”. Fiercely plucked piano strings, extremes of register, a dueling relationship between the duo, guitar twang, slouching grunge really feel, led to a closing celebratory motion. It was creative, witty and invested with thrilling rhythmic dynamism and momentum. And Go and Kawabato have been of their completely synchronized virtuosic aspect.

For any member of the viewers unfamiliar with Harrison’s work, this live performance was one thing of a revelation. There is no such thing as a doubt that we are going to be listening to way more from her.

Picture provided.

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Heather Leviston reviewed KIAZMA Piano Duo: Shostakovich and Harrison, carried out on the Melbourne Recital Centre on December 7, 2021.



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