Gaspard de la nuit
Chôros No.5 (Alma brasileira)
Sonata in F minor, Op.5
Cristina Ortiz (piano)
Reviewed by: Colin Anderson
Reviewed: 6 March, 2005
Venue: Queen Elizabeth Hall, London
By this time, the piano sounded fuller; maybe ears had adjusted or the tuner had had another go during the interval (the recital was delayed starting due to a late-running tuning process). Not surprisingly, Ortiz dispensed her Brazilian countryman Villa-Lobos’s Chôros No.5 with aplomb, a five-minute piece of sub-Rachmaninov soulful expression and some upbeat local colour.
Gaspard de la nuit was the recital’s highlight. Yes, there was awkwardness here, too, but Ortiz threw herself into the final ‘Scarbo’ movement and whipped up a frenzy that was certainly compelling. She also created atmosphere, although the tolling bell of ‘Gibet’ could have been more distant, the whole movement more hypnotic, and the opening paragraphs of ‘Ondine’ more seamless. Yet there was compunction to listen – to a drama being unfolded; this may not have been a transcendental account (of a fiendishly difficult piece) but it was certainly a compelling one.
There were two encores, the second was a fairly anonymous piece by another Brazilian (not unlike Falla’s Ritual Fire Dance, but nowhere near as memorable) and the first was a Prelude by Tubin, brief and beautiful and played with real sympathy.