Evgeny Kissin in Recital | Auditorium Parco della Musica | 1 November 2012

Concert dedicated to the memory of the pianist's father Igor Kissin

Less than a year after delighting audiences in Rome with Grieg's Piano Concerto Russian virtuoso pianist Evgeny Kissin was back at the Auditorium Parco della Musica yesterday evening for a solo recital in the Santa Cecilia concert hall. Kissin is a frequent visitor to the Auditorium, and as always there was an atmosphere of eager anticipation in the packed concert hall before he appeared. When Kissin stepped from the wings he walked briskly to the centre of the stage, graciously bowed to acknowledge the rapturous applause that greeted him, sat swiftly at the piano, and launched almost immediately into the opening piece, Sonata No.9 by Haydn.

If Kissin has, on occasions, suffered at the hands of critics who see him as technically brilliant, yet somewhat cold and detached, concerts with such astonishing playing such as last night in Santa Cecilia should put paid to any such claims, with the pianist wearing his heart on his sleeve in an utterly commanding performance of often moving intensity. The Haydn sonata was exquisite, with a lovely second movement, but it was during the second movement of Beethoven's Piano Sonata No.32 that his playing reached the truly sublime. The third variation was played with such joyous verve it felt almost ragtime, whilst the slower variations were filled with achingly beautiful moments. The applause was deafening at the close of the piece and he was brought out for two curtain calls before the audience would allow him to leave the stage for the interval.

The second half of the concert saw Kissin reining in the emotional intensity at first during his interpretation of Schubert's Impromptus, yet he would startle us again with the tenderness he brought to the Op.90 No.3 serenade. Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 12 was chosen as the bravura finale showcasing the pianist's prodigious technical skills and bringing the audience to its feet at the close in a hugely deserved standing ovation. Well-known for his generosity with encores, his adoring Roman concert-goers were rewarded with yet more Liszt in three enthralling returns to the stage, which included the Liszt transcription of Schubert's Die Forelle.

An astounding concert!

Full programme:
Sonata No. 59
Sonata No. 32 Op. 111
Four Impromptus:
Op. 142 No. 1
Op. 142 No. 3
Op. 90 No. 3
Op. 90 No. 4
Hungarian Rhapsody No. 12
Sgambati - Gluck
Melody from Orpheus
Transcendental √Čtude No. 10
Schubert - Liszt
Die Forelle (The Trout)