Advertisement

Bowl Recital : Zimerman Plays Schubert, Chopin, Liszt

August 28, 1987|DANIEL CARIAGA | Times Music Writer

Serious but not seraphic Schubert, definitive Chopin and cool Liszt made up Krystian Zimerman's latest Los Angeles recital program, given in the nearly inhospitable environs of Hollywood Bowl on Wednesday night.

Undaunted by lowering temperatures, compromising amplification and distracting noises, the Polish pianist showed again why, at age 30, he may be considered one of the more important musical thinkers of his generation. His agenda, somewhat changed from what had been originally announced, looked heroic on the page, sounded handsome in the ear.

More than anything else, it demonstrated the high-level musical standards and solid, imperturbable technical accomplishment for which Zimerman has been noted since his debut here, nine years ago.

To begin a performance in a theater where are gathered 8,458 listeners with the Four Impromptus of Schubert's Opus 142 is a feat one expects only of a veteran recitalist. Even then, it is to take dangerous risks--of losing those listeners' interest, or respect, or both. Zimerman not only showed himself a serene Schubertian; he kept the sense of line fluent and provided immaculate details to support that line.

From the beginning of our acquaintance with the Zabrze-born pianist, he has been known as a Chopin specialist. Indeed, his early fame came from winning the International Chopin Competition at 19. His playing Wednesday of that peak in the composer's oeuvre, the F-minor Fantasy, achieved an integration of insight and analysis, of poetry and vigor admirable in every aspect. There have been more heated performances, and readings more lustrous in tone, but few as tightly focused in structure.

Zimerman's present view of the B-minor Sonata of Liszt, which closed the program, also finds the outer characteristics of a large-scale work and projects its architectonic integrity intelligently. But it does not convince emotionally. No dramatic subtext seems to color the pianist's thinking, or his attention to nuance. No hidden or imagination-inspiring scenario propels one musical passage into the next. What seems to be missing are clear contrasts in tone-color, rich differentiations of touch, vibrancy of thought.

In response to the prolonged encouragement of his audience, Zimerman played one encore, Schubert's E-flat Impromptu of Opus 90.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|