Olga Stezhko at Wigmore Hall – Lucid Dream

Toys & Dances
Tales of an Old Grandmother, Op.31
Musical Toys
Three Fantastic Dances, Op.5
Suite bergamasque – Minuet
Tarantella, Op.92
Two Dances, Op.73)

Images & Visions
Images, Series I
Five Preludes, Op.74
Images, Series II
Vers la flamme, Op.72

Olga Stezhko (piano)

Reviewed by: Stewart Collins

Reviewed: 10 November, 2015
Venue: Wigmore Hall, London

Olga StezhkoPhotograph: www.olgastezhko.comSomething special happened here at the Wigmore Hall. The elegant Belorussian pianist Olga Stezhko slipped onto the platform almost unnoticed, such was her lack of ceremony, and that same attractively quicksilver and elusive music-making typified what followed.

Her intelligent and personal programme-note explained the whys and wherefores of a quick-fire series of works almost exclusively from the early part of the 20th-century, from composers who were principally Russian but peppered and contrasted with the work of Debussy. The pieces were predominantly miniatures, and Sofia Gubaidulina’s Musical Toys rushed by with some sections just a few bars long. But the exquisite journey we were taken on gave Stezhko the maximum opportunity to demonstrate her wonderful powers of characterisation as well as an extraordinary will-o’-the-wisp delicacy in much that she played.

With much that may have been unfamiliar territory, there was a particular joy in Lev Abeliovich’s Tarantella (1984), which combines elements of perpetual motion with wildness, a similar angular joy so typical of Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Stravinsky.

Stezhko’s more muscular side came to the fore with the various Scriabin elements, all late works and ending with the massive build in intensity that typifies Vers la flamme. The enthusiastic audience left to the echo of Stezhko’s return to Debussy (‘Serenade for the Doll’ from Children’s Corner) before she disappeared from view having been an extraordinary presence and a supremely delicate master of her instrument.

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