Fort Worth — Fort Worth’s outstanding PianoTexas International Festival continues to present recitals performed by the distinguished faculty; some of the best pianists of our era. In keeping with the theme of Russian music and artists, the festival presented Dmitri Alexeev in Texas Christian University’s PepsiCo Hall on June 23.
Alexeev is a legendary name. He studied at the Moscow Conservatory and was a winner at the 1969 Marguerite Long Competition in Paris, the 1970 George Enescu Competition in Bucharest, at the 1974 Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow and the first prize in the Leeds Piano Competition in 1975. His international career has included appearances in all of the major cities of the world and appeared with most of the major international symphonies. In addition, he is on the faculty of the Royal College of Music.
He opened with Sergei Prokofiev’s Sarcasms, Op. 17. This was followed by Nikolai Medtner ‘s Forgotten Melodies, Op. 38, No. 6, “Canzona Serenata” and his Improvisation in B-flat minor, Op. 31, No. 1.
He followed with a group of huge works by Alexander Scriabin’s Étude in C-sharp minor, Op. 2 No. 1; Five Preludes, Op. 16; and his Fantasy in B minor, Op. 28.
After intermission, he launched into some slightly more modest Chopin. He opened with his Polonaise-Fantasie in A-flat major, Op. 61 and his Rondo in C minor, Op. 1. He played a delightfully dance-like set of four of Chopin’s mazurkas and ended with an audience favorite, Chopin’s Polonaise in A-flat major, Op. 53.
Alexeev delivered a titanic performance of all of the above; something on a galactic scale. A word occasionally used to describe him is “magisterial,” and that was certainly the case here. While he can deliver a singing legato line as tender as any bel canto singer, he is best known for the passionate storm that he easily conjures in his orchestral approach to the Romantic repertoire. He attacks the piano with ferocity, willing to sacrifice the occasional note splat to the effort, as though the music was bursting out of his very being.
Unlike some pianists who tame their playing to the individual demands of different composers, Alexeev put his own individualistic stamp on each of the disparate composers. From Prokofiev’s appropriately named Sarcasms to Scriabin’s gigantic chromatic opium trips and Chopin’s more intimate explorations, all were seen through Alexeev’s musical kaleidoscope.
It was a remarkable experience to hear him play, let alone such a big program of composers of which he has long been associated.
PianoTexas Festival Concert Schedule
Distinguished Artist Recital Series
- 7:30pm June 30: Olga Kern
Concerto Concert Series
- 7:30pm June 26: Teachers & Amateurs Concerto Concert
- 7:30pm July 1: Young Arts Concerto Concert