Kemijärvi Music Union and Kemijärvi Culture Office have once again, to their credit, brought a magnificent pianist to perform this far north.
Before coming to Lapland, Alicja Fiderkiewicz had played a concert in Helsinki and also held a master course in Sibelius Akatemia.
The concert started with the massive Schubert Sonata no.21, D.960, which has four movements in distinctly different styles. In the first movement, Fiderkiewicz succeeded in bringing forward the different themes. I especially loved the Andante sostenuto part, where the pianist’s tone was in a class of its own; how many fine nuances can one find in a grand piano.
In the only slightly slower movement of the sonata, the musical outline and the peacefulness of the musical phrases made for fine listening.
The first part of the concert consisted of this particularly challenging sonata and it was a very good start to the whole event.
After the interval we first heard Papillons op.2 by Schumann, a piece which combines a distinctive set of different thematic elements in the composer’s characteristic style, all brought forth by the pianist in quite an impressive manner.
Following this, our ears had a chance to rest for a bit with three of Chopin’s Nocturnes, known to everyone. Fiderkiewicz performed an introspective, stylish and suitably powerful version, while avoiding oversentimentality. Once again I would like to point out how did the pianist conjure such a multitude of fine nuances in the Chopin material. The concert ended with Barcarolle in F sharp major, op.60, by the same composer, which, in its rhythm and forte dynamics, made a nice contrast against the previous Nocturnes.
For the first encore we heard J.S. Bach’s Prelude in C major, which the pianist dedicated, in front of the audience, to the memory of the victims of the Paris attacks. A brief silence followed the piece, the audience paying their respects to the victims of violence. For the second encore, trying to lighten up the atmosphere, Fiderkiewicz played a little mazurka by Sibelius, sitting by the edge of the piano and wondering ’’do I remember this one?’’ to a laughing audience.
The big sound of the grand piano did come through just about fairly in the hall of the Cultural Centre, noted for its complete lack of echo. It would be nice to see a day when such great artists would be able to perform in Kemijärvi with the appropriate acoustics - changing the side curtains to a harder material would make the hall much more suitable for music performances, otherwise the hall is a fine and intimate venue. One would only wish that concerts of such quality would have a bigger audience.
It was the joy of a Sunday night to get to listen to such a great piano artist!