Gabriela Montero in recital

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Philip M
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Joined: Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:38 am

Gabriela Montero in recital

Post by Philip M » Mon Mar 09, 2020 2:51 am

Gabriela Montero gave a very impressive and enjoyable recital yesterday in Birmingham's Symphony Hall. The recital was at 4pm, Horowitz’s favoured start time.

As she explained, the programme was a contrast of the innocence of childhood and the experience of later life.

She began with Schumann’s Kinderszenen, 13 beautiful little gems. She reminded me here why so often less is more. She segued straight into a selection from Chick Corea’s 20 Children’s songs, which I confess were new to me. They are delightful and varied. I must check out the complete set (which apparently Corea himself has recorded).

The first half ended with her own Scenes from Childhood, 5 brief improvisations on her memories of growing up in Caracas. Because they are improvisations, as she explained, “every performance is different”. I’ll remember yesterday’s, which were tender, funny and moving.

As stark contrast the second half started with Shostakovich’s wartime 2nd Sonata, written between the 7th and 8th symphonies. It’s a big piece, lasting nearly 30’, and is not easy listening.The battles of war are ever present in the first movement and the following Largo is striking for its bareness. You feel as though you are walking amongst the dead. The finale, by far the longest movement, is a theme and 9 very varied variations. The sonata is an emotional and technical tour-de-force and was superbly played by Montero.

She is known for her improvisations and as is normal for her recitals finished with 2 based on themes suggested by the audience, in this case Amazing Grace and the theme from the 1812 Overture. They were brilliant. Whoever would have thought that the 1812 theme could morph into a Bach Gavotte or Chopin Waltz?! She has an extraordinary improvisatory mind and technique.

Philip

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