Georgy Tchaidze, the 2009 Honens International Piano Competition First Laureate, chose a program of Schubert’s underexposed works for his first solo recital CD. What comes through to me from this very appealing album, beyond the recitalist’s lyric sensitivity and his virtuosity, is his imagination: and that serves to focus on Schubert’s creativity.
The No. 2 of Drei Klavierstucke in E-flat major, D 946, starts out innocently as a melliflous rondo strolling along like a song. The hint of overcast in it’s clear sky darkens and picks up speed in the ‘trio’ that follows. It’s as if a time-warp frog-walks us ahead 175 years to the raggy drama of William Bolcom’s “Through Eden’s Gate,” and “Serpent’s Kiss.” Mr. Tchaidze’s playing unfolds like a perfectly banked and graded road over which loss and reconciliation race towards a finish that never quite happens.
Instead, the bold syncopations of the No. 3 in C major bounce into the picture like the intricately twisted track of a pair of kittens. Another remarkable feature of Mr. Tchaidze’s reading is that, without losing the sense of fun here, he manages to carry forward a hint of the darkness that grounds Schubert’s vision, particularly during the time of this work’s composition—1828—just months before the composer’s death.
The CD opens with a much earlier work, from the time the very young Schubert was holidaying near the Austrian countryside home of a girl he loved. The Piano Sonata in A Major, D.664 is on the whole leisurely and melodious. Mr. Tchaidze takes the first movement at a very fast pace, yet manages to maintain the tender, muted feeling in passages of the second theme that contrast with it’s vehement passion. The Andante is thoughtful, even slightly stricken, but the speed of Mr. Tchaidze’s trills dispells all sadness from the Finale which dances to a gentle close.
Mr. Tchaidze’s sense of dramatic imagination works well with the Fantasy in C major, D. 760. Though this work is not my favourite due to its surfeit of assertive, percussive, arpeggiated runs, all the banging and rolling sometimes give rise to original sequences of motion, as if grasshoppers were changing into centipedes that morph into snakes. I also felt an unearthly beauty develop where the brooding, moonlit Adagio brightens into the Presto.
To sum up, this debut album by Georgy Tchaidze has something new to say about Schubert. I’m glad I heard it, and I recommend it without hesitation. You could listen to excerpts HERE and make a purchase if you like.
Your comments on this review are welcome HERE.