“I absolutely love what I do and I love my life” says Alexandra Dariescu. We could see and hear what she feels throughout her performance at Breinton last night. Her love and passion towards the piano, performing and sharing her music with the audience was apparent right from the first note, and continued tirelessly until the dramatic ending of Chopin’s Scherzo No. 2. From the subtleness and gentleness of pianissimos to the boldness of fortissimos, Alexandra’s effortless musicality extracted the best out of the piano and dazzled the audience.
Alexandra started the recital with the “fiendishly difficult” Variations Sérieuses by Mendelssohn. The breathtakingly beautiful theme was followed by 17 variations throughout which the diversity of the mood was admirable, and the depth and wealth of pianism was plentiful.
A selection of Preludes by Gabriel Fauré, Frédéric Chopin and Karol Szymanowski followed. Preludes No. 4 and No. 3 by Fauré were picturesque and contemplating, bringing out a yearning and nostalgic feeling. Busy-bee like Prelude No. 2 in C sharp minor followed and continued straight into Chopin’s Prelude Op. 45, also in C sharp minor. The transition was beautifully done. Three Szymanowski Preludes next were performed with transparent and clear sounds, and were truly atmospheric with an emotional wave and hint of freshness (written by the composer at his young age). Making a dramatic mood switch to conclude the first half, Alexandra played Chopin’s Polonaise in A flat major ‘Heroic’.
The highlight of the recital was the Tchikovsky/Pletnev Nutcracker suite. What a story teller it was. I so enjoyed the range of sound effects Alexandra created in this suite. Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy sounded as if it was coming out of a music box. Intermezzo had an expansion of dynamism, and what an orchestral effect Pas de Duex created. It really wowed the audience.
Alexandra is one of the best examples of successful young musicians. Being a professional pianist involves much more than just practicing and performing it. Musicians must be entrepreneurs; they must be able to market and promote themselves, create and maintain their website, build and cultivate a network, look for opportunities, take care of admin tasks (which often take up hours), all on top of practicing, performing, and expanding their repertoires. Alexandra has worked very hard at every aspect of the above, and is still continuing to work hard. Without having never been on the competition circuit, she has proven herself to be excellent at what she really loves.