St Petersburg, Concert Hall

Piotr Anderszewski piano recital

Third concert of the fifteenth subscription


Robert Schumann. Gesänge der Frühe, Op. 133
Johann Sebastian Bach. English Suite No 5, in E Minor, BWV 810

Janacek. In the Mists
Beethoven. Sonata No 31 in A flat, Opus 110

Piotr Anderszewski (the biography) >>

... Piotr Anderszewski is unquestionably one of the most fascinating pianists of our day. It was in Miami that somebody perceptively commented that it was not so much that Anderszewski was playing the piano so wonderfully, but that we were also hearing his mind working. This is the very quality that raises pianism from the merely brilliant to the breathtaking. It is all very well to formulate ideas on how you want to project a piece of music, but having the power to communicate them persuasively takes an extra dimension of artistry. This is what Anderszewski has in abundance. The performances were riveting. It was revelatory.
Geoffrey Norris, The Daily Telegraph

There is something comforting about the kind of perfection that Polish-Hungarian pianist Piotr Anderszewski brought to his program of Bach, Janáček and Beethoven on Sunday afternoon in Symphony Center... Artists like Anderszewski manage to create a universe that seems utterly complete unto itself. There is a sense of inevitability in their performance, a feeling that the true essence of a composer’s intentions has been discovered. When our daily lives are battered by forces beyond our control, it is reassuring to spend an afternoon in a world of such richly calibrated balance.
Chicago Sun Times

The evening’s most overpowering performance came in Beethoven’s Sonata No. 31. Mr Anderszewski’s attention to dynamic markings, mostly of the soft and softer variety, was fastidious, with exquisite results. If he took any liberties, it was in magnifying Beethoven’s expressive indications.
Steve Smith, New York Times

Piotr Anderszewski, a slender 39-year-old Polish pianist with a spine-tingling technique, devoted his recital Saturday night at Walt Disney Concert Hall to Bach. He played with pin-prick accuracy. He wasn’t unaware of history. But he wasn’t unaware either of the Romantic era or the gains and pitfalls of period practice. He knows his Gould, and he knows his own era... He exudes romantic cool, showy but unflappable. His tone is incandescent.
Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times


Five Morning Songs for Piano, Op. 133 is one of Robert Schumann’s ultimate works. The sketch of all five songs is dated 18 October 1853. In the music one can catch a fleeting similarity with works by the young Johannes Brahms, a friend of Schumann’s at the time. In connection with the Five Morning Songs, Schumann made an entry in his diary: “To Diotima”. Diotima was a priestess in the Arcadian town of Mantinea, who had once told Socrates of the existence of Eros. At the close of the 18th and the start of the 19th centuries, she once again became the heroine of the poems and confessional prose of Friedrich Hoelderlin – hymns of eternal, divine love.

The Six English Suites were written no later than 1720, among a tremendous number of instrumental works that Bach composed while he was serving in Keten. From that time on, Bach used them as didactic material – to instruct his pupils in keyboard playing and particularly in composition. Unlike the French Suites and Partitas he subsequently wrote, in the English Suites the demonstration of genius is somewhat deliberate in nature. In the Suite in E Minor, the performer must overcome numerous technical challenges, while the listener must evaluate the beauty and the scale of the extravagant prelude and polyphonic fanciful constructions of the allemande, the courante and the jig, the elegance-filled sarabande and the passepied.

Leoš Janáček’s suite In the Mists was completed on 21 April 1912 for a competition being run by the Club of Friends of Art in Brno. It is believed that these four pieces record the composer’s memories of life in the Starobrnenska monastery as a young cantor. The pieces initially create the deceptive appearance of salon music. But the further it proceeds, the more the music intensifies with unusual keys and irregular rhythms of Moravian folklore, with the result that the finale, written in the spirit of a rhapsody, is not a work not for the salons but one that is truly avant-garde.

Sonata No 31, the penultimate of Beethoven’s piano sonatas, was written in 1821–1822. In Beethoven’s lifetime, sonatas were never meant for performance at public concerts. The audience was made up of close circles of connoisseurs and music lovers. At times there could be no audience at all: performed alone, one became immersed in the composer’s intimate world, trying to catch at his meaning.
Sonata No 31 is an ideal example of an original and enigmatic idea of the composer. A lyrical first section, the scherzo, which ends with disaster, then there come the recitative and two ariosos that are interwoven with two fugues – there is no other such sonata.

Anna Bulycheva

Age category 6+

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