Thursday, May 17

Martino Tirimo's Recital: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

I had the fortune, once more, to listen to this great pianist, in a recital that he gave on Friday 11 May, in "Parnassos" Concert Hall, a lovely venue in the center of Athens. This time Tirimo chose to play an all-Tchaikovsky program. 

He began with "the Seasons" (op. 37a), one of the most interesting works that the Russian composer wrote for solo piano. It's a work I  particularly love (I am always very fond of music that evokes the change of seasons), for it reminds me of my childhood: it is then that one experiences more vividly the change of time, weather and season. This change is powerfully reflected in this series of 12 pieces (one for each month), through a great variety of styles, moods and colors. Just to give you an idea, here are the titles of every piece:

  1. January: At the Fireside
  2. February: Carnival
  3. March: Song of the Lark
  4. April: Snowdrop
  5. May: Starlit Nights
  6. June: Barcarolle
  7. July: Song of the Reapers
  8. August: Harvest 
  9. September: The Hunt
  10. October: Autumn Song
  11. November: Troika 
  12. December: Christmas 

Listen, for instance, to the Barcarolle (June) (probably the best-known of the set) [here with the unmistakable genius of Michail Pletniev]. 

 In a completely different atmosphere, September depicts a hunting scene (move to 5:15):

Tirimo's exploration of this musical kaleidoscope was masterful. Not only did he bring out the uniqueness of each of the 12 pieces; he managed to present a unified whole (as opposed to a fragmented perspective) - and this is nothing less than a achievement. 

After the interval, Tirimo played for us a song (op.40/2), a mazurka (40/4) and Dumka (op.59). I personally do not think there is much in these works, although the russian-ness of the Dumka does speak to my heart. 

On the contrary, Martino's final work (Nutcracker, Orchestral Suite op.71 - tr. by Michael Pletnev) is, really, Tchaikovsky at his very best. This is an impressive, very successful transcription made by a great pianist. Here, Martino brought out all the qualities of this music: the hidden melodic lines were clearly and subtly articulated; the dynamic "palette" was infinitely rich, and the technical bravura was exceptional! This final piece was a revelation, both regarding the genius of Tchaikovsky and the undisputed pianistic qualities of the performer. 
All in all, a musical feast for those lucky to be in Parnassos Concert Hall last Friday. 

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