32 Variations on an Original Theme in C minor, WoO80
Sonata in E flat, Op.31/3
Nocturne in D flat, Op.27/2
Sonata No.3 in B minor, Op.58
Ingrid Fliter (piano)
Reviewed by: Rob Pennock
Reviewed: 19 June, 2007
Venue: Wigmore Hall, London
Ingrid Fliter was born in Argentina and in her early thirties. She came to prominence after receiving the 2006 Gilmore Artist Award, and various other prizes, and this was her London debut.
From the opening bars of the Beethoven it was obvious that she produces a very big sound, but as to how much of this was down to the use of the loudness pedal was open to doubt. Throughout the recital the use of both pedals was pretty indiscriminate and this caused a whole range of problems in a small hall with well-nigh-perfect acoustics.
Beethoven’s Variations lacked rhythmic and dynamic subtlety and any real sense of ‘variation’ and the first movement of the sonata was exactly the same. Each of the sonata’s movements featured well-chosen tempos, but there were several fluffs and no sense of line. Like Kovacevich, Fliter certainly likes to emphasis pounding bass chords, but unlike the great American (whose clarity of texture is exemplary) the over-use of the sustaining pedal robbed them of impact and precision. Unfortunately the brief slow movement was far too loud and the finale was garbled and singularly lacking in animation or variety of tone and texture.
Chopin fared little better. The Nocturne was too loud and the phrasing lacked poetry. Perhaps the best playing of the evening came in the first movement of Chopin’s B minor Sonata, in which Fliter’s steady tempo allowed her to convey some sense of structure and cumulative power, but even here the dynamic range was limited to mezzo-forte and above. In the scherzo there was no pointing or light and shade and virtually no poetry or dynamic variation in the sublime Largo; the finale was inaccurate and massively over-pedalled.
In neither of these composers was there a clear sense that this pianist could create a distinctive sound and emotional world for each composer. As to how much better the playing would have been, if the artist had realised that Wigmore requires rather more subtle use of the pedals, it is difficult to say, but this was certainly not an auspicious London debut. Fliter has just been signed by EMI Classics.