For the grand finale of our 10th anniversary season, pianist Katya Apekisheva exhibited a well-rounded programme which began with one Russian composer and ended with another. As the audience’s anticipation and excitement rose, Katya swiftly and calmly walked in, and from the moment she put her fingers on the keyboard, her outpouring musicality was un-stoppable.
Our programme notes suggested Prokofiev’s Visions Fugitives as “a group of pieces that are contemplative, intended to capture fleeting thoughts and moods before they escape”. And they were precisely that. These 20 miniature scripts, gentle, playful, fairy-like, humorous and imaginative, with dissonant harmonies and tonality so Prokofiev, were fleeting and over all too quickly, but throughout we enjoyed Katya’s sublime touch and texture, and exactness that could only derive from a thorough understanding of the score.
Katya had Schubert’s Four Impromptus totally within her grasp – and with this, her magic unfolded. Her carefully thought-out phrasing and sound colours that matched the mood and appeal of each Impromptu was second to none; I felt we heard a whole different level of expressiveness and richness. Her voicing of the melodies was ever so natural but excellently effective, with attention and care to the minute details. All this contributed to express the beautiful, long-singing phrases of Schubert’s, which people have never ceased to adore for the past centuries.
Haydn’s Sonata was elegantly crisp, light and joyful; lifting the spirit. The audience, perhaps in a dreamy state at this point, experienced a drastic change in the subsequent piece, Janacek’s Piano Sonata. Intense and dramatic, Katya’s sound-making was more serious and deeply engaging, expressing a roaring outcry and tragic sense. This mood was carried into the final pair of pieces, Rachmaninov’s Etude-tableau No. 6 and No. 9. It was no sweat for Katya, commanding those fiery virtuosic works; she kept the agitating temperament totally under control, again showcasing her ability to express details and never forgetting the whole picture of Rachmaninov’s beauty and the heroic and victorious end. The overjoyed audience was treated to an encore, a lovely gem-like Scarlatti Sonata. With this, our 10th Anniversary was completed.