BBC Radio 3 Lunchtime Recital at Wigmore Hall – Javier Perianes

Chopin, Debussy, Falla

Javier Perianes (piano)

Reviewed by: Barnaby Page

Reviewed: 9 April, 2018
Venue: Wigmore Hall, London

Javier PerianesPhotograph: Josep MolinaJavier Perianes presented two pairs of composers – Debussy/Chopin and Debussy/Falla – as studies in contrasts and similarities for his Wigmore Hall recital.

If the opening items, the first of Chopin’s Opus 28 Preludes and Debussy ‘Danseuses de Delphes’ (Préludes, Book I), were designed to highlight those resemblances and differences between two of the greatest contributors to the piano’s repertoire, there was soon much more meat in Perianes’s account of Chopin’s Berceuse: distinctive for the instrument’s lovely tone, too. A glistening, almost ecstatic ‘Clair de lune’ (from Suite bergamasque) reminded of the more rhapsodic passages in the Berceuse, and Perianes brought out beautifully Debussy’s constant tension between forward-moving passages and placid repose.

If so far that the programme had tended a little toward the delicate, Perianes’s mastery of more-assertive musical language was evident in the terrific crescendo of during Chopin’s F-minor Ballade and then in Falla’s fierce, compelling Fantasia baetica, the latter an opportunity for the Spanish pianist to demonstrate just how dramatically his homeland’s tradition differs from that of its neighbour. Preceding it with two Spanish-influenced Debussy Préludes – ‘La sérénade interrompue’ and ‘La puerta del vino’ – was a brilliant piece of programming: even at his most Spanish in the latter piece, Debussy never quite tastes like Spain the way that Falla does, the latter from Perianes a piece of remarkable impact, mercurial, occasionally dark, sometimes wistful, never losing sight of its permeating folk influences but never overplaying them either.

For his encore Perianes headed northwards – ‘Notturno’ from Grieg’s set of Opus 54 Lyric pieces, but it was Spain that stuck in the mind.

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