FRattenfurt ⋅ Those ritual processes that characterize Grigory Sokolov’s piano concerts seemed especially intense during the last performance of the pianist, who was born in 1950 in what is now Saint Petersburg. Appearance, in previous Sokolov performances at Alte Frankfurt Opera Always given in half a dozen and not frequently consuming the extent of the other half of the program, the exact six digit number has been preserved this time as well. But they mostly provided brief musical features, from the late Brahms to Chopin’s Prélude in C minor. This fits into the solemn program, to which Sokolov adhered just before playing the piano, and which also consisted exclusively of small works – as well as Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Eroica Variations” at E flat major, Op. 35, and the Three Intermezzi, reference 117 by Johannes Brahms, those eight fantasies which, in Robert Schumann’s “Kreisleriana” reference 16, first come together to form a larger, less formal context within.
There are 15 variations including the final fugue, and Beethoven Composed on the subject that he would use as the basis for the conclusion of his third symphony, “Eroica,” which is first found and developed in piano variants of Sokolov’s clearly articulated bass lines, is not here interpreted as heroic. He set the basic rhythm as slowly as seemed reasonable without compromising the rigor of his game. This was almost painful to experience the flashy triple motions of the third-to-last variation. The contrast with the first gentle swing of Intermezzi op.117 by Johannes Brahms could hardly have been greater then. As always with Sokolov, all of this was of course perfectly calculated, regardless of whether he uttered a gentle middle fingered voice or merely differentiated his gameplay so delicately that his careful work on temporal progression gave rise to the impression that he canceled out his wake-time .
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