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Alexander Gavrylyuk's Solo Recital at the Space Theatre

October 26, 2017

"... Gavrylyuk gave a seemingly effortless display of pianistic power of the most breathtaking kind ..."

Streaming music, iTunes, YouTube, the now endangered CD and all the other ways we have of experiencing recorded music are fine, but some things will always be better live.

Such is certainly the case with Alexander Gavrylyuk, whose playing has a dynamic range that could not be reproduced on a recording, not to mention the sheer excitement of being in the presence of someone who is performing miracles. Gavrylyuk's previous appearance in the Morgans International Piano Series was a high point of last year's concert season, so expectations were high.

He opened with the same piece as Behzod Abduraimov did earlier this year, Busoni's quasi-orchestral transcription of Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor, but his reading of it was altogether more delicate, though thunderous at times. Delicacy though was certainly a feature on Haydn's storm-and-stress Sonata in B minor, played with admirable clarity, wit and passion. Chopin followed - a brace of studies from Op.10, an exquisite performance of the famous E major, quicksilver brilliance in the F major, impassioned tumult in the 'Revolutionary.'

After interval the program settled into Russian mode, beginning with Scriabin's electrifying Sonata No.5. Gavrylyuk perfectly captured both the languid eroticism and the paroxysmic ecstasy of this extraordinary music. Three familiar preludes of Rachmaninov were themselves a prelude to the same composer's daunting Sonata No.2, in which Gavrylyuk gave a seemingly effortless display of pianistic power of the most breathtaking kind. In contrast, Gavrylyuk's encore, Rachmaninov's Vocalise, was a 'swoon' moment of the purest romanticism.

By Stephen Whittington, Elder Conservatorium of Music

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