Javier Perianes at Wigmore Hall

Blasco de Nebra
Sonata No.5 in F sharp minor
4 Impromptus, D899
Piano Sonata No.3 in B minor, Op.58

Javier Perianes (piano)

Reviewed by: Andrew Maisel

Reviewed: 3 January, 2010
Venue: Wigmore Hall, London

Javier Perianes. Photograph: Ben EalovegaMaking his debut at Wigmore Hall in a morning “Coffee Concert”, the Spanish pianist Javier Perianes opened his programme with the short, two-movement and engaging F sharp minor Sonata by his compatriot Manuel Blasco de Nebra. This 18th-century composer wrote around 170 works, all for the keyboard of which only around 30 now exist. Still, Blasco de Negra’s proficiency on the organ, harpsichord and fortepiano, and the early use of sonata form, mark him out as a notable figure in the development of the keyboard. Perianes’s performance was a microcosm of his whole recital, the opening Adagio was studied and intense, the closing Presto was finely drawn but a little on the ponderous side.

Schubert’s first set of Impromptus found Perianes in introverted mood. The opening passages of the C minor piece were disturbingly dark, only partially lifted by the lightly-spun finger-work of the E flat. The soulfulness of the G flat was fully brought out hindered only by the last degree of poetic lyricism. The vicissitudes of the final, A flat, Impromptu were not fully realised, though, the lack of colour in Perianes’s playing not enough to bring out the contrasting moods.

Chopin’s B minor Sonata was something of a disappointment. One got the sense here of a pianist really trying a bit too hard to pull out all the stops. Perianes was overtly muscular in the outer movements, the finale suitably thrilling and carried off with aplomb. There was admirable concentration too in the keenly felt Largo. But his episodic approach led to an overall lack of cohesion; it was as if the music had been deconstructed without properly being put back together again. The overuse of halting rubato, particularly in the slow movement, exacerbated a feeling of an opportunity missed.

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