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SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL CONCERT REVIEW
Haydn: Piano Sonata in C minor, Hob. XVI/20
Chopin: Nocturne in B major, Op, 32, No. 1
Nocturne in A-flat major, Op. 32, No. 2
Nocturne in F-sharp minor, Op. 48, No. 2
Nocturne in C minor, Op. 48, No. 1
Pande Shahov (b. 1973): Songs and Whispers - Suite for piano (California premiere)
Prokofiev: Sonata No. 7 in B-flat major, Op. 83
Simon Trpceski's return to Disney Hall after a triumphant appearance last season with the Los Angeles Philharmonic playing Rachmaninoff was a triumph itself. Armed with the tools and charisma of the great Romantic virtuosi, Trpceski, almost incongruously at times, chose to explore the interior of Haydn and Chopin before delighting the audience with a folk music-based Suite by fellow Macedonian Pande Shahov and finishing with the mechanistic charms and power of Prokofiev's last sonata.
Trpceski's method, although it hardly felt like it, was not to overpower the music or overwhelm the audience. Instead he drew the listeners into the music with performances that might have seemed improvisatory but turned out to be deeply revealing. The Haydn C Minor, which has been used by pianists as apposite as Richter and Brendel, served its purpose here, acclimatizing the audience to Trpceski's quiet poetry. No need for stylistic verity when the simple blueprints laid out by Haydn are so self referencing and profound. The Chopin Nocturnes were in a similar vein, the occasional gorgeous melodies played with hesitation leading to sublime illumination.
Shahov's 15-minute Songs and Whispers, introduced by Trpceski from the stage as a hybrid of Macedonian folk songs and Chopin reflection, caught up both the pianist and the audience in its subtle typically cross-hatched Macedonian rhythms and there was much shouting and many bravos at the end.
In the mighty Prokofiev, Trpceski softened the composer's steely intentions until exploding in the last movement. The result focused on the composer's human side instead of employing the usual incendiary tactics. Two gentle encores sent the audience out into an unusually cold Los Angeles night: one of the variations from Mozart's Duport set, and a small Chopin waltz.
Disney Hall provided Trpceski with an audiophile sound that was rich and full and warm, yet precisely detailed.