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Saturday, February 20, 2016


(Aviram Reichert)

An outstanding performance in a programme for connoisseurs. (Review by Michael Green)

The distinguished Israeli pianist Aviram Reichert presented a programme for connoisseurs when he gave a recital in Durban at Howard College, University of KZN.

Concert-goers will well remember his appearances in Durban a year ago, when he played Beethoven and Chopin at a recital for the Friends of Music and Rachmaninoff with the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra.

This time he started with the four Impromptus, Op. 90, by Franz Schubert. These pieces are well-known and well-loved, but what was unusual was the striking originality of Reichert’s interpretation of them. They were played with a powerful sense of drama and emotion, and with meticulous phrasing and tonal judgment.

The big bold approach was continued in the second item on the programme, Schubert again but this time a lesser known work, the Sonata in A minor, D.784, written in 1823. I think it is not widely recognised that Schubert was a prolific writer of piano sonatas, about 20 of them and most of them of very high quality.

This A minor sonata is typically melodious, though it has a somewhat austere character. In his calm, undemonstrative way Aviram Reichert gave a totally satisfying account of its many subtleties, with a lovely slow movement and a virtuoso final Allegro.

The recital ended with a late 19th century French masterwork, Cesar Franck’s Prelude, Chorale and Fugue. I have the feeling that this composition is not played as much today as it was a few decades ago. It is a splendid work, big, complex, difficult to play and brilliant in effect.

Aviram Reichert’s outstanding performance produced prolonged applause at the end, and cries of Bravo.

The evening was a social as well as a musical event. After the recital, the audience were given wine, fruit drinks and substantial snacks in the Howard College courtyard and were joined by the pianist, whose virtues include modesty and friendliness.

All this was organised by the Durban pianist and teacher Liezl-Maret Jacobs. She plans to present other piano recitals in similar circumstances three or four times a year, and when she does she deserves support. This one was an exceptional evening in many ways. - Michael Green