United States Numerous: Daniil Trifonov (piano). Davies Symphony Corridor, San Francisco, 13.11.2022. (HS)
Tchaikovsky – Youngsters’s Album
Schumann – Fantasie in C main
Mozart – Fantasia in C minor, Ok.475
Ravel – Gaspard de la nuit
Scriabin – Piano Sonata No.5
Daniil Trifonov presents himself as a no-nonsense pianist, however what emerges from the Steinway can take one’s breath away. His recital in San Francisco touched on music from a variety of acquainted composers, every bit, in several methods, amongst their most subversive.
He walked briskly onto the Davies Corridor stage, wanting a lot much less shaggy and windblown than in latest appearances, bowed courteously to all angles of the three,000-plus within the viewers, took a second to settle in and launched into the quiet opening measures of Tchaikovsky’s Youngsters’s Album.
Ostensibly Tchaikovsky supposed these two dozen miniatures for learners. The simplicity of the primary, ‘Morning Prayer’, match the outline, however Trifonov revealed a delicate and velvety contact few learners might produce. The prospers on ‘Farmer Taking part in the Accordion’ and ‘Baba Jaga’, nevertheless, can be effectively past the capabilities of a kid. The sustained drones of the final one, ‘The Organ Grinder Sings’, created some cross-instrumental magic.
Subsequent up was Schumann’s Fantasie in C main. Among the many composer’s most technically difficult items, this sprawling 30-minute work is devoted to Franz Liszt (who wrote loads of finger-busters himself). Trifonov discovered methods to create tone and handle tempo to deliver out the consistently shifting moods. Quick-moving ripples made a delicate halo for the majestic melody that begins the saga, which then settles right into a gradual however passionate prayer that, on this efficiency, surged with undertones of despondency. The jaunty march of the center part felt like somebody shaking off the blues, and the gradual, looking out, remaining part unfolded with exceptional endurance and finesse.
After the intermission got here Mozart’s Fantasia in C minor, one other piece that learners can play. With delicate hesitations and shifts of texture, Trifonov introduced out Mozart’s witty methods of enjoying with expectations. When the general construction wandered, because it does, he acknowledged the surprises with the musical equal of a wry smile, and by no means sacrificed Mozartian magnificence.
Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit ranks among the many steepest mountains for pianists to climb simply to play the notes. It delves into harmonic complexities far past the composer’s different acquainted items. The watery waves within the opening measures of ‘Ondine’ flowed with seemingly countless movement in opposition to the dancelike tunes depicting the titular nymph. The second motion, ‘Gibet’ (‘gallows’), appears easy on the floor, with its repetitive pedal tones and sustained chords, however Trifonov discovered simply the correct tempo to maintain issues shifting with an inevitability and a contact to make the chords appear to swell. The breakneck ‘Scarbo’, with its torrents of dissonance, raced with a frenzy to a breathless end. It might have gone off the rails at any level, however Trifonov didn’t miss a observe.
Scriabin’s Piano Sonata No.5 truly upped the ante on Ravel’s notoriously tough piece, including layers of near-atonal dissonance to the buffeting mood-changes. Softer respites gave us an opportunity to breathe between ferocious onslaughts of pianistic dazzle. Remarkably, the quick however deft sections registered simply as brightly as the large, loud ones. The ultimate gesture, a rush towards the excessive finish of the keyboard, turned Trifonov’s complete physique to the viewers, and he took benefit of it to step seamlessly off the piano bench for his bow.
It was the one time he did something bodily histrionic, however it was simply the correct gesture to attract a well-deserved standing ovation. On the fourth curtain name, he relented and performed an encore: Myra Hess’s elegant transcription of Bach’s ‘Jesu, Pleasure of Man’s Wanting’ lifted us above the darkish clouds of the Scriabin with tenderness and the Aristocracy.