“Melting the Ice” – 11th February

Photograph of Daniel Koschitzki

Daniel Koschitzki (recorders)
Timea Djerdj (piano)

Reviewed by: Becky Davey

Reviewed: 11 February, 2002
Venue: Wigmore Hall, London

Daniel Koschitzki certainly had no problems breaking the ice in his Wigmore Hall debut, even if to a disappointingly small audience.

The Moeck/Solo Recorder Playing Competition 2001 winner opened his recital with a persuasive performance of Ende (1985) by Louis Andriessen, played on two descant recorders to great effect. Koschitzki’s stage presence immediately captivated the audience. Hot Stones (1991) by Will Eisma was very rewarding to listen to, both because of the strength of the piece itself and due to the skilful rendering of it. The atmosphere created by both players was particularly special.

There was a good sense of continuity throughout the recital, despite the programme consisting of eleven mostly short pieces. These were cleverly programmed in sets with ’improvised’ links that prevented applause. The works themselves were wide ranging – from Bartok’s Roumanian Folk Dances to Phonix by Koschitzki himself. The Bartok arrangement was an interesting idea, but the overall success when played on recorders is debatable. There were other arrangements that worked better, if a little cheesy, like Scene d’amour by Francis Lai and Gabriel Faure’s Apres un reve. I think the most successful arrangement was of the solo recorder piece Geproesterol (1994) by Frans Geysen. Koschitzki played this with electronics, a pre-recorded tape with varying drumbeats that matched the piece well, and the tape and performer ending together – always impressive!

Another of the real highlights of the evening was Charavgi (1995) by Calliope Tsoupaki. Again, the piece itself is very strong, but the technical skill of Koschitzki along with his expressiveness really did the piece justice. Koschitzki manages to deliver such a wide range of sounds and dynamics on the recorders – feats many recorder players just do not achieve. This is probably why he recently became a member of the renowned Amsterdam Loeki Stardust Quartet.

In the York Bowen’s Sonatina (Op.121), Koschitzki made great use of his expressive skills to produce a highly romantic performance; although despite his ability to play pretty loud for a recorder, there were occasionally balance problems with the piano. Koschitzki’s own composition, Phonix (2000) is with electronics and created quite an eerie atmosphere – it actually seemed like music from a sci-fi film!

The last piece in the recital was amazing. “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” on a recorder and piano in the Wigmore Hall is a bit ambitious, but it really worked! Most of the audience laughed quite a lot, especially when we got to the “I love you Baby” lyrics, which he played very loudly and with much feeling! The audience reaction was sufficient to produce two encores, both of which I thought were weak choices after such a wide-ranging choice of music.

Overall, Koschitzki is a young player (born 1978) to listen out for, technically very proficient, but with a natural musical flair and desire to push the boundaries of his instrument.

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