On February 8th 2020, Ivan Gusev gave a piano recital at the Tenri Cultural Institute in New York. The event was organized by the Leschetizky Association in honor Theodor Leschetizky (1830-1915).
Mr. Gusev has been featured in this blog before.
However this was the first time we saw him play works written by a composer born before Mozart.
C. P. E. Bach: Rondo in C Major H 260; Sonata in A minor (Württemberg)
At the Tenri Institute, the ceiling was high and square, and the walls were bare. Acoustically, conditions were challenging for the performer.
Nevertheless, Gusev’s Rondo was a delightful morsel which the pianist evidently loved playing. But the A minor Sonata felt less clear, possibly due to acoustics.
Beethoven: Sonata No. 14 in C# minor Op. 27 No. 7 (“Moonlight”)
Gusev’s Adagio Sostenuto worked well with the room’s resonance. His stately pacing had a slow pulse that pulled the listener inexorably to the closing arpeggios.
The lighter Allegretto functioned as a measured transition from reflection to action. Gusev exploded into a riveting Presto Agitato that, despite the occasional glitch, felt glorious and triumphant.
Debussy: Preludes, Book 1
After the intermission, Ivan Gusev presented a set of Debussy preludes. It included favorites such as La Fille aux Cheveux de Lin. Gusev certainly has a flair for Debussy. This reviewer was so entranced that he forgot to take mental notes for his readers.
Encore: Minute Waltz and Liebestraum
Ivan Gusev’s first encore was Chopin’s crowd-pleasing Minute Waltz. I’ve heard him play this as an encore before. On this evening I preferred his second encore, Liszt’s Liebestraum S. 541 No. 3.
While Ivan Gusev appears to relish showpieces, his talent shines brightest in more atmospheric works such as the Debussy of this program, or his Rachmaninov Études-Tableaux cited in a prior Roving Pianist review.
Students of Theodor Leschetizky founded the non-profit Leschetizky Association “to perpetuate his ideals and principles of piano playing and teaching”.
The Association offers performance opportunities for members and their students. Also, they organize concerts, masterclasses and a concerto competition for young pianists.
We thoroughly enjoyed the Leschetizky Association’s concert featuring pianist Ivan Gusev. The venue was warm and pleasant, the organizers friendly, and the refreshments good.
While the performance space had acoustic challenges, Gusev adapted well. Also, the walls were too bright. When taking photographs, I was “shooting against the light”.
For more about the Association, consult www.leschetizky.org. The .com site www.leschetizky.com is unrelated.
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