March 2021 is a special time. It is the 25th jubilee edition of the Ludwig van Beethoven Easter Festival and we will also commemorate the great Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki. Leading cultural institutions, international artists, close friends of Maestro and Madame Penderecki, Management’s artists and all the staff from the Beethoven Association would like to pay tribute to this remarkable composer, conductor and a great man.
Some superb playing from Lukasz Krupinski with the beautifully clear sounds and a deep sense of longing in the opening Bach Prelude in B flat minor Bk 1.A great song played with a fluidity and architectural shape and a coda of quite extraordinary beauty.It led into the five part fugue of equal beauty as the voices came together with the breathtaking bass bringing this sublime contrapuntal drama to a fitting close dedicated as it is to the memory of Krzysztof Penderecki.
Beethoven’s Appassionata Sonata op 57 was given a very fine performance where Beethoven’s jagged edges had been smoothed out in a performance of great poetry and drama.Rarely have I heard the second subject played so beautifully contrasting so well with the dramatic outbursts of virtuosity but always incorporated into the overall architectural shape.With scrupulous attention to the composers indications there was also room for his own very marked personality that brought new life to this much worn warhorse.
A beautifully flowing Andante con moto with some sumptuous colours in the more flowing variations to the final whispered pianissimo chord before the shattering announcement of the Allegro ma non troppo.A last movement played with just the right amount of menace but even here there was beauty to behold in this young man’s poetic hands.If sometimes he took Beethoven’s rests a little too literally it was always to make a musical point as after the opening trill of the first movement or the quavers of the first variation in the Andante or here in the last movement where he strangely chose not to follow Beethoven’s own pedal indication.These are tiny details in an inspiring performance where the beauty of the sounds he made at the piano were of a true poet.
Aristocratic good taste in the Polonaise Fantasie of Chopin where the Polonaise seemed to grow out of a fantasie of glowing sounds that he produced from the very first opening chords spread so miraculously by Chopin like a vibration over the whole keyboard.There was a wonderful sense of balance in the central section where the melodic line seemed to float above the bass counterpoints .Deep bass notes just opening up the magic that was to be found in the upper reaches.Embellishments that just seemed to grow so naturally out of the melodic line all in one breath like the greatest of bel canto singers.The final triumphant outpouring I found a little slow and after such sublime beauty I think he could have allowed his passionate involvement to overwhelm us all.
What to say of Prokofiev’s demonic third sonata when played with such mastery?A kaleidoscope of sounds from the most delicate to the most overwhelming and here he too was overtaken by his temperament as he treated us to the enthralling exaltant excitement of the final few bars.