:: A Triumphant Finale
More and more young pianists have made their debut in Buenos Aires thanks to the ambitious projects of the Chopiniana Foundation, which is sponsored by a few private companies and embassies. In this case it was the performance of a Canadian pianist of Polish descent, which at 27 years of age has already begun an active concert career at the international level.
To start his recital, Wnukowski chose two Bach Chorale arrangements well contrasted: the first was rather dense and variegated while the second was more clear and simple. In both, the interpreter was correct in his approach and its realization.
Wnukowski continued the program with an interpretation of the Mozart Sonata in C KV330, which surprised me when the pianist chose not to repeat the first sections of each movement, which was customary to do in that period of time (especially since he did the repeats in the Beethoven Sonata No. 32, in which there is in fact even more structural freedom.) Everything was in place in the ‘Allegro moderato’ and the ‘Allegretto’. He attained a greater sense of expressiveness as the piece progressed as he would highlight some remark or some detail, so that the fragments had gained in personality. More interesting to me was the ‘Andante cantabile’ which was well expressed and where Wnukowski took special care in the transitions, articulation and nuances.
The extensive first part of the program was completed with the last of the piano sonatas of the genius of Bonn, which Wnukowski filled with stamina and proper deployment of technical means. There were strong contrasts in the ‘Maestoso’, clear precision in the rounds of octaves and respect for what was requested by the author in terms of dynamics and tempo markings –(‘Allegro con brio ed Appassionata’). The long ‘Arietta’ which concludes this score, marked Adagio molto semplice e cantabile, was carried a pinch faster than usual, but without losing structure and was performed with the utmost simplicity, which is so characteristic of Beethoven’s phrasings. It is gratifying to see how the pianist kept an inflexible metric pulse throughout the many variations, or the lightness and subtlety with which he performed the lengthy passages in the high registers of the keyboard, forming a successful and convincing interpretation. But here one could argue if his approach was not somewhat distant or particularly identifiable.
The 24 Preludes of Chopin, which the Polish-Canadian artist devoted the second part of the recital showed a different side of the pianist. The performer seemed to feel very comfortable and identified well with the romantic genre while performing these long and varied garland of small pieces that carried us through all the major and minor tonalities – from the longing C Major prelude in the beginning to the three powerful rumbles of the D note in the bass that put an end to the vibrant prelude which closes the entire set.
Not all the pieces that make up the opus 28 equally served me, but the end result was the most interesting. Without going into the details of each which would be seem tedious and useless, it suffices to mention the lovely turns of melody by the left hand in No. 6, the amount of agility showcased in No. 19 and the finesse and sound quality displayed in No. 23, including the accuracy of the rising and falling arpeggios. Although, I found both the short No. 7 the No 20 preludes, which is a kind of funeral procession, somewhat hasty.
The attendees, recognizing without doubt that the Preludes had been the best part of the performance that evening, rewarded the artist with a prolonged applause, until he rewarded the public even further with an impressive encore. What was surprising was his choice of pieces, which in this case was a display of extreme technical complexity allowing him to make an impressive demonstration of virtuosity in a seemingly overwhelming task. There was no need to announce the piece: he just ran the first few notes and everyone discovered that this was the famous Wedding March by Mendelssohn, but in this case the piano transcription of Liszt and varied even further while being carried to the utmost limits of what is possible by Vladimir Horowitz. A piece that, despite its relative artistic quality, became a real pyrotechnic orgy in the hands of Daniel Wnukowski.
by Carlos Singer- September 19, 2008
Mundo Clásico (Classical World)
Original Language: Spanish