Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Pounded to a pulp

....was the piano at tonight's recital in Tbilisi Conservatoire by Revas Tavadze (not sure of the transliteration of the surname)! Actually I thought it would be a flute recital by Rusudan Tavadze, but it seemed to be a bit of a duo evening. Rusudan may be his daughter, though she seemed more than a generation younger than the pianist (but a lot of Georgian women look much younger than they are).

An interesting programme, mixing Bach and Telemann flute pieces with a Beethoven piano sonata. I'd worked out the names of all composers on the posters, but could not think what flute piece Beethoven might have written - and indeed he had not.

Of the two, Revas, a total late Karajan lookalike, down to the black poloneck sweater, is by far the better musician. The Beethoven op 57 sonata turned into an avalanche of sound - a wall of noise; the piano was assaulted, and only just survived. I see it's the Appassionata - that figures! A massive, loud performance - subtlety and transparency was not on the menu; he seemed to stand on the pedal even in places where a bit of clarity might have been welcome. The greatest applause of the evening was certainly deserved.

As for the flute....hm, what to say. I missed the first Bach sonata, but heard enough to be rather underwhelmed. The fast movements were not all that fast, and the slow movements... oh dear. She played a sarabande and bourree of a partita for flute solo (I did not know either he had written such a thing) - the sarabande was such that I wondered whether this was an intellectual exercise. A note here, a break, a few notes there, some contemplation, a few more notes....A sarabande is a dance, girl - how are people supposed to dance to that? She might have been extremely nervous during this piece (her fingers were trembling), but all the other slow movements were the same - the notes were not played, but snatched, bitten at and spat out, nothing was connected to anything else - but all pieces were baroque music, and even the historically 'correct' interpretation does not do violence to pieces of music. Add to that a few quite unnecessary fluffs, a moment in a Bach sonata that resembled the 'Gollywog's Cake Walk' and it did not make for happy music making. And these interpretations would not even go down well in an orchestra where flautists are soloists....

In Eastern Europe there are lots of musical dynasties, but the quality of musicianship does not always get transmitted through the generations, so there are quite a few average musicians with famous fathers or grandfathers. Perhaps this is such a case. She did have a nice sound, mind.