Tag Archives: Virtuosity

Kevin Kanisius Suherman (piano)


 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.

Fremantle Chamber Orchestra



Jessica Gethin (conductor)

Rudolf Koelman (violin)

reviewed by Neville Cohn

photo by Roel Loopers

Rudolf Koelman    Jessica Gethin

Rudolf Koelman Jessica Gethin

Saint Saens: Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso 09:04

Saint Saens: Havanaise                   08:40

Wieniawski: Violin Concerto No 2 in D minor, opus 22

Allegro moderato                            10:51

Romance: andante non troppo        04:26

Allegro con fuoco                           00:33

Allegro moderato (a la Zingara)     05:15


Rudolf Koelman, for many years concertmaster of Holland’s famed Concertgebaauw Orchestra, makes frequent visits to Australia. On a number of these occasions, he has fronted up as soloist with the Fremantle Chamber Orchestra. Some of this happy collaboration is now preserved on CD, recently released by the FCO.


Koelman, a formidable soloist, is featured in Saint Saens’ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso as well as Havanaise in addition to Wieniawski’s Violin Concerto No 2.


Unsurprisingly, Koelman sounded in his element here, adapting to the requirements of each work like fine wine to a goblet. Stylistically impeccable, tonally refulgent, he seems incapable of an ugly sound.


There is a good deal of virtuosity on the part of the soloist but it is never there purely for its own sake. Invariably, it is entirely in context. In this sense, the presentation is in the very best of musical taste and all the more to be recommended for that.


There is clearly an excellent rapport between orchestra and soloist with Jessica Gethin doing sterling work in maintaining momentum and ensuring an equitable tonal balance between soloist and orchestra – and recording engineer Thomas Wearne has come up with the most sound (no pun intended!) result. It’s a recording well worth getting excited about – and for all the right reasons. And there is an extra frisson to the performance, doubtless due to the recording being of live performances before an audience in Fremantle.