Evgeny Kissin with the Hammerklavier and Rachmaninov: when risks are rewarded
A 2000 people full house and four encores could mean all or nothing. Some artists fame and marketing can sell all the tickets and get the audience with their minds set for a big applause. Those artists could be tempted to not take risk, do an easy thing an an easy triumph. Fortunately for us this was not the case of Evgeny Kissin: he took risks (serious ones) and triumphed. Win win.
Beethoven Hammerklavier is probably his most difficult piano work. Not only because of the technical difficulties but also because of its monumentally and concept (the orchestral equivalent would be the Missa Solemnis). Here the risks taken were not technical (not crazy tempi in the allegri) but in the concept. A opening with rubato removing the hammering sense and, above all, the silences in the adagio, risking breaking the line but with a proper meaning of, like the opening rubato did, injecting of releasing tension. Remarkable. How Kissin anticipated further developments during the adagio got the audience stuck to their chairs looking forward for them.
The second part was a selection of Rachmaninov preludes. Again very interesting concepts of them, and totally different from each other. He played all them straight away without ever losing the focus after such changes in mood or approach.
For the encores we got a bit of everything: Scriabin, a jazzy toccata by himself, more Rachmaninov and a Tchaikovsky’s Méditation with a final trill for the gallery. The good one. I already got my tickets for the next year gig: Chopin, Schumann, Debussy and Scriabin.