Marina Kolomiitseva was born in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, in 1979. She studied at the Moscow State
Conservatory (from 1991). Competition successes include The
Seventh Sydney International Piano Competition - presumably
hence the present CD.
Amazingly, the entire disc, apart from the Prokofiev,
was recorded in one day; the Prokofiev session taking place
on another single day. On paper this is a pretty typical
calling-card recital, daring to wander into Prokofiev for the
twentieth-century, with a well-loved Mozart sonata as opener.
There is much to recommend with Kolomiitseva’s playing,
but whether it merits an internationally-released disc is another
matter. The Mozart begins pleasantly, with scales pearly and
the requisite orchestral thought in the background for delineation
and contrasts of texture. Indeed, ‘pleasant’ is a useful word
in reference to Kolomiitseva’s Mozart, for it describes the
Andante to a tee. Harmless might be another; well-behaved yet
another. The finale scuttles along nicely.
I have lost count of the number of times I have heard
Schubert’s Wanderer Fantasy played as a virtuoso showpiece
or even as a set of C major exercises. Amazing how in the best
performance mishaps cease to matter – a live Brendel RFH performance,
many years ago now, in which one hand slipped a semitone right
at the end springs to mind. Rather that than this.
The piece begins with what can only be described as a
‘thunk’ as Kolomiitseva falls on the first chord. Semiquavers
might be nicely defined, but one remains blissfully unaware
of the stature of this piece. Everything is nicely shaped,
any chance of spontaneity completely practised out.. This is
very good conservatoire playing. It must be admitted though
that the recording dates mentioned above mean that, boy, does
she play a lot of right notes.
The dark shading of the opening of the slow movement
augurs well, but Kolomiitseva becomes more wooden as the Adagio
progresses. In fact the longer one listens the more laboured
the playing becomes, with the close not in the least exciting.
The bouquet of Schubert/Liszt Lieder is a nice thought.
The inclusion of texts and translations in the booklet is an
unexpected bonus. The songs seem to strike a chord with Kolomiitseva
for Aufenthalt is very carefully and prettily shaped
and Aufenthalt is darkly dramatic. A pity the ultra-famous
Forelle is so studied. If she cannot reach the requisite
Innigkeit for Ihr Bild, it is Erlkönig
that disappoints more. The initial octaves are dry, heavy and
awkward, the drama unsustained. First it threatens to run out
of steam, then it threatens to run out of control.
So, another day - another
sonata. Prokofiev’s mighty Sixth. This is a brave choice, whatever
Kolomiitseva’s personal geographic origins; did she feel a sense
of duty? She does try for the violence of the opening, and it
is clear she enjoys the lighter-Prokofiev sections. It sounds
exactly as if she chickens out for the final gesture of the
first movement; and at 7’39 it sounds like she breaks a string!
Prokofiev’s language can be tricky to interpret, and
for much of the middle two movements Kolomiitseva seems to meander
aimlessly. The finale comes closest to success in any sense,
taken very fast indeed, with good articulation and some of the
Ultimately a very disappointing
disc, though, I’m afraid.