Only Chopin

Only ChopinAdelaide Fringe. Presented by Marianna Grynchuk. Pilgrim Uniting Church. 23 Feb 2014

With the afternoon sun streaming through the stained glass windows of the Pilgrim Uniting Church, a capacity audience was treated to a superb all-Chopin concert by pianist Marianna Grynchuck.  

Playing with the confidence of someone much older, Grynchuck amply demonstrated why she has often been named South Australia’s most promising pianist.  She has excellent technique and plays with strength, accuracy and authority.  The program she chose was varied and generous, and included the Andante Spianato and Grand Polonaise Brilliante Op.22 (the solo piano version, no orchestra), Sonata No.2 in B flat minor (aka the ‘Funeral Sonata’), and the opus 10 Etudes, all twelve of them.

The joy of Chopin lies in the beautiful melodies, usually in the right hand, and the inventive but robust accompaniment and embellishment in the left hand.  The temptation is to over pedal and lose the delicateness in the upper registers.  This was the fate of the Andante Spianato and the bold Grand Polonaise Brilliante which should be introduced with much gusto, but was placed at a disadvantage and could only survive by being played louder and louder.  However, as is often the case, it all comes down to personal taste, and Grynchuck played it with flair and passion surpassing her years.

The B flat minor sonata is sometimes accused of lacking cohesion.  It is stormy, lyrical, melodic, funereal, and virtuosic.  It needs to be played with attention to all these things, and Grynchuck did just that.  Perhaps the first movement was again over-pedalled, and the occasional ‘sforzando piano’ was more ‘forte’ than ‘piano’ but Grynchuck extracted the full measure of gravitas from the third movement funeral march.  The unrelenting parallel octaves of the final movement were delivered with constancy and controlled power.  Impressive.

The twelve etudes are not often programmed as a complete set – some come across more as ‘exercises’, which indeed they are.  Others are instantly recognisable as concert encores, such as No.3 in E major (aka ‘Tristesse’ or ‘L’Adieu’), in which Grynchuck was most successful in drawing out the beautiful melody.

This young lady has the potential to go a long way

Kym Clayton

When: Closed
Where: Pilgrim Uniting Church
Bookings: Closed