Music by Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt, Granados, Albeniz, de Falla
TPT: 64’ 10”
reviewed by Neville Cohn
If you’ve not yet heard of Kevin Suherman, then, if you are a follower of music for the piano, you may well come across the name in the near future. Because if this recording is anything to go by, this is a youthful pianist on a direct route to the stars.
Is there a more hackneyed work for the piano than Liszt’s La Campanella? Yet, here, unhurried, wondrously clear and with beautifully considered rubato, is a performance of extraordinary merit. In this young musician’s hands, this so-frequently encountered piece sounds fresh and newly minted – and that is no mean achievement. It’s a model of pianistic insight.
Much the same could be said of Chopin’s Fantasie Impromptu in a reading informed by a passionate intensity that sounds intuitively right. In the same composer’s Ballade in G minor, there are interpretative felicities that one would normally associate with a pianist at the height of maturity. In so young a musician, it is astonishing. Revelations of its romantic essence, beautiful tonal colourings and near-perfectly calibrated climaxes augur well for a concert career of distinction.
In the Polonaise in A flat – the Heroic – the right hand is powerfully declamatory. But the villainously difficult semiquaver octaves in the left hand are less persuasive; there is a sense of strain. And in Liszt’s arrangement of Schumann’s lied Widmung, there is some stodginess in the opening measures; its euphoric essence is lacking.
In Beethoven’s Sonata opus 2 no 3, this young pianist sounds in his element. The virtuosity he brings to the opening allegro con brio is astonishing and gratifying. Nimble fingers make light of passages that would defeat lesser pianists. And the villainously difficult thirds in the right hand are tossed off, diamond bright, with the nonchalance of mastery. There is about much of the playing here a peremptory brilliance that is as impressive as it is satisfying to listen to. A pleasingly expressive slow movement, a sparkling scherzo and a finale taken at a spanking pace with intermittent flashes of grandeur reveal a young man well on the way to pianistic glory.
Albeniz’s Seguidillas sounds over-rapid although clear and accurate. But in Granados’ The Maiden and Nightingale, the presentation unbottles the music’s idiosyncratic and ecstatic genie to admirable effect.