REVIEW (HT – Symphony Orchestra) Doctoral candidate a hit in solo with orchestra


Doctoral candidate a hit in solo with orchestra

By Peter Jacobi H-T Reviewer |
November 16, 2012

In an 11-day span, pianist Gulrukh Shakirova, a doctoral candidate in IU’s Jacobs School, has given three public performances, each and all of which proved she’s quite the talent.

Two Sundays ago, she scored at the Mu Phi Epsilon Founders Day concert in Auer Hall, with notable interpretations of music by Respighi and Scriabin, the latter a sonata of exceedingly complex design. Last Sunday, during a program by the International Vocal Ensemble, she upheld the glories of music from Uzbekistan, her homeland, even playing a couple of her own compositions, sweetly poignant ones at that.

On Wednesday evening, in the Musical Arts Center, Shakirova soloed with the IU Symphony Orchestra and conductor David Effron. She was a hit, to put it mildly, the audience springing to its collective feet and shouting approval after her completed path through one of Mozart’s most admired piano concertos, the Number 20 in D Minor, K.466.

Not for a moment was there doubt that here is a formidable pianist who possesses not only totally assured technique but also an already well-sculpted and mature artistic soul. Her finger work was pristine. Her phrasing was elegant. She attacked and caressed the keys at will, her will, though, never deviating from loyal service to Mozart.

Perceptively, Shakirova caught the forward-looking nature of the music, the enhanced expressiveness of the K.466, which held back its popularity when first performed but has increasingly made it a fan favorite since the composer’s lifetime. In her performance, one heard the score’s opening sadness, its sense of longing, blended precariously with tension; then — in the middle movement, a Romanze — an aria-like theme bewitchingly lyrical; then an Allegro assai, shifting dramatically but also more happily to its conclusion. The pianist’s emotional involvement seemed total, and did the cadenzas used have original elements of her own making? They were fitting and beautiful.

Maestro Effron and the orchestra complemented their soloist most effectively. Earlier, to open the program, they played the Overture to Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman” with zest and carefully calibrated pacing. The opera’s three main characters were present: the brooding Dutchman, the affectionate Senta, and the surging sea.

Wednesday’s program ended with Dvorak’s Seventh Symphony, reportedly one of the conductor’s favorites. He treated it as such. He made the Symphony treat it as such. Together, they shaped a performance riveting enough to match the impassioned music. Somber passages, those of grandeur, those intense, those relaxed, ultimately those joyous were persuasively realized. What’s more, a spacious symphony was spaciously played. Once again, the audience responded effusively; the response was deserved.

Copyright: 2012

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