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Pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk thrills in intimate performance at Space Theatre

The Advertiser
MORGANS INTERNATIONAL PIANO SERIES RECITAL : MAY 30, 2016
Space Theatre

"...he carries his listeners through a romantic whirlpool of emotions from understated regret to fire-breathing vengeance..."

By Rodney Smith

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VIRTUOSO pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk will doubtless win hearts and minds on Saturday at Festival Theatre in Rachmaninov’s 1st Concerto with our ASO but we have Guy Barrett and his supporters who tirelessly run the Morgans International Piano Series to thank for opportunities to hear such artists one more time in more intimate mode and with a multifaceted program.

This was indisputably a big scale recital with works by Schubert, Chopin, Prokofiev, Rachmaninov and Balakirev and it demonstrated the spectacular breadth of Gavrylyuk’s talent, rooted though it is in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Whatever he does, the heart is on the sleeve as he carries his listeners through a romantic whirlpool of emotions from understated regret to fire-breathing vengeance and these were often juxtaposed within the same work in five of Rachmaninov’s Études-Tableaux which were preceded by Prokofiev’s eight-minute Sonata no 3. Gritty and mellow by turns Gavrylyuk showed the romantic side of Prokofiev and the modernist side of Rachmaninov, pausing only briefly between numbers.

Earlier Chopin’s Fantasie in F minor, Nocturne in C minor and Polonaise in Ab were treated with almost balletic whimsy, always graceful and coutured, always suave and elegant. Schubert’s little A Major Sonata that opened the recital had never a hair out of place as Gavrylyuk’s velvet tones almost sweetened it beyond measure.

However the dragon was definitely out of its den in Balakirev’s famed and feared Islamey with iron fingers supplanting velvet gloves as powerful pyrotechnics replaced tonal delicacy in an astonishing pianistic transformation.

 

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