Leonskaja 70th Birthday Concert
Great artist, great company: the classiest and most generous of celebrations 5*
The Arts Desk
November 23 2015
Elisabeth Leonskaja Friends 70th Birthday
Concert at Wigmore Hall,
Seen and Heard International
November 25 2015
It was a massive but never overbearing three-parter, a three-and-a-half hour celebration, a mini-festival of youth and experience. Wouldn’t we all want to mark a major birthday in the company of friends of all ages? Elisabeth Leonskaja, much-loved torchbearer for the comprehensive manner of mentor and duo-partner Sviatoslav Richter, played with them all – members of the Doric Quartet, genius composer and most vivacious of clarinettists Jörg Widmann, Vienna Phil double-bass doyen Alois Posch and, most bracingly of all, three of her own acolytes making their very distinguished ways in the world.
Let’s begin, programme-wise, with them, since the very start of the Brahms four-hand Waltzes of Op. 39 instantly took away the sour taste of an opinionater in a current weekly sounding off about Brahms as boring miserabilist. Well, frankly, who cares about other people’s blind spots? But this music just laughed in his face at times, above all with the gayest of all minatures, No. 6 in C sharp major. Samson Tsoy and Pavel Kolesnikov sparkled with cut-diamond brilliance; Alexandra Silocea, taking over with Leonskaja at her left, offered delicacy and planted the earworm of the gorgeous No. 15 in E flat major.[...]
[...]From Mozart we moved to Brahms’ Op 39 waltzes in the arrangement for piano duet. Leonskaja was joined by Alexandra Silocea, Pavel Kolesnikov and Samson Tsoy and they took turns performing the succession of waltzes. Kolesnikov and Tsoy took the first six waltzes and I was pleased to see them using the pedal sparingly and keeping the textures light. I particularly enjoyed the unfettered exuberance and effervescence which they brought to the scherzo waltz in C sharp major. Leonskaja for my money is one of the world’s leading exponents of Brahms and one of the few pianists who can show us how the B Flat Piano Concerto should be played. She was joined by Silocea for the next six waltzes and I was instantly struck by the poetic depth and the wonderfully nuanced exploration of Brahms’ rich harmonies and multi-layered textures. Kolesnikov and Tsoy took on waltzes 13 and 14 and they brought a robust charm to the C Major waltz and an energy and propulsion to the A Minor. Leonskaja and Silocea concluded the set with a beguilingly beautiful performance of the waltz in A Flat and a charged and incandescent performance of the D Minor waltz.[...]
Arbetarbladet, Gavle, Sweden
October 25 2015
By Lars Westin
Some people seem to have more fingers on their hands than others. And they can move them so much faster too. As did the Romanian pianist Alexandra Silocea.
On Friday evening she proved that her piano playing is world-class.
Alexandra Silocea made herself a big name with her recordings of Prokofiev's piano sonatas a few years ago.
In Gävle she performed Felix Mendelssohn's First Piano Concerto. It is a concerto that ended up in the shadow of his popular violin concerto, but the piece certainly deserves to be heard.
The beginning is elegant, playfully played with full attack directly from the start by Silocea. Her hands fly across the keys as if her fingers have no bones or anything that could hold any kind of resistence. She pulls us directly into her and Mendelssohn's world and keeps us there, totally enchanted.
The last movements initial fanfare signals the atmosphere tightening, played with abrupt shifts and rhythmical dancing by Silocea.
Technique and musical feeling in perfect harmony.
Über die Aktualität scheinbarer Biedermeier-Idyllen
Die Presse - Wilhelm Sinkovicz
February 02 2015
Im Konzerthaus kann man zur Mittagszeit wunderliche Dinge erleben und allerhand geistige Anregungen mitnehmen.
Im Wiener Konzerthaus probiert man konsequent neue Präsentationsformen für Klassik. Jüngst hat man nach New Yorker Vorbild eine Reihe mit freitäglichen Kurzkonzerten gestartet, denen dann für alle, die das möchten, noch kammermusikalische Nachspiele mit Open End folgen. Wer also nur die Stoßzeit musikalisch überbrücken möchte, hat die Chance, ein halbes Symphoniker-Programm mitzuerleben und dann gemütlich nach Hause zu fahren.
Wer doch einen vollen Abend, spannend programmiert, genießen will, bleibt einfach da und erweitert seine Repertoire-Kenntnisse oder erlebt bekannte Künstler von ungewohnter Seite (etwa Philippe Jordan als Pianist).
Etabliert ist längst die Serie der Mittagskonzerte, die auch stets bunt programmiert ist und seit einiger Zeit Literatur und Musik verbindet. Der Schubertsaal droht aus allen Nähten zu platzen; der Andrang ist enorm.
Jüngst las Martin Vischer aus Italo Calvinos subversiv-amüsantem Roman „Der Baron auf den Bäumen“, mit dem sich der Dichter in die Zeit der Aufklärung zurückträumt und einen renitenten Adelssprössling kurzerhand auf Bäume klettern und von dort aus Dialoge mit Voltaire und Napoleon führen lässt.
Dazu steuerte Alexandra Silocea eloquent kurze Stücke aus Mozart-Sonaten, Pittoreskes von Couperin und Rameau sowie ein wenig Scarlatti bei – sogar Elisabeth Leonskaja, von der sich Silocea den letzten Schliff geholt hat, lauschte nicht nur ihrer Studentin sichtlich animiert von ihrem Stehplatz an der Saalrückwand.
5 Stars Review Debut with the London Philharmonic Orchestra & Vladimir Jurowski,
Alexandra Silocea dazzles with the LPO and Jurowski at Congress Theatre, Eastbourne
Alexandra Silocea, making her debut with the London Philharmonic, was the soloist in Mozart’s Piano Concerto no. 17 in G major. In recent seasons she has attracted considerable acclaim for a recording of Prokofiev’s sonatas and as a recitalist, all of which mark her as an artist to watch out for. Employing an orchestra of reduced size, the scene was set for a reading of some intimacy. The opening Allegro was introduced by the orchestra cleanly and crisply, aided somewhat by the stage layout that had the strings grouped on the left and winds and horns to stage right. From the start Silocea articulated the piano part with sensitivity that maintained an acutely tasteful sense of tone and scale. Oftentimes, such as in the cadenza, her left-hand touch was particularly notable as it gracefully underlined the melodic material that was imparted with delightful ease by her right hand. The two elements were unified in no small part by good judgement when it came to pedalling.
The transition of mood and feeling was effortlessly accomplished and the Andante second movement took on a sense of the autumnal that also had much in the way of refined introspection about it. The performance as a whole, though, also caught facets of bright bravura and fragility in the dialogue that naturally developed between soloist and oboe, bassoon and flute section leaders. The overall feeling of bonhomie continued into the Allegretto finale. Constructed as a set of five variations upon a march-like theme, an entirely unforced sense of growth and contrast was encouraged by Jurowski, who here allowed strings and winds to hold almost equal sway. Throughout it all, Alexandra Silocea again proved her Mozartian credentials with phrasing of supreme elegance.
May 11 2013
Nick Boston on the Brighton Festival Recital
[...]In contrast, the very next day (Monday 6 May), I was back in the Studio Theatre for another piano recital, this time by the very young pianist Alexandra Silocea. She played an imaginative programme, themed around reflection of water, with music by Debussy, Ravel, and Liszt. Now this repertoire is perhaps more extrovert than the Schubert, but immediately I felt a sense that Silocea wanted to communicate the music to us, audiemce. Again, the venue was on her side - a small audience, with nobody more than about 10 rows away from her. The playing was also exceptional - perhaps with the first Debussy piece, Reflets dans l'eau, there was a touce of nervousness, but once in her stride, the rippling rhythms and liquid harmonies were delightful. as was the humour in Poisson d'or. Liszt's Variations '"Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen" take the contained chromatism of Bach's chorus and unleash it, and Silocea equally took flight in this virtuoso piece, yet returned to a beautiful joyous calm for the closing chorale setting. The programme also included Ravel's incredibly difficult Jeaux d'eau, and again, Silocea ably rose to its challenges.Yet the mosy inspired bit of programming here was to the end with two Liszt's arrangements of Schubert sogs - Der Müller und der Bach, and Auf dem Wasser zu singen. Liszt still manages to find virtuosity here, but Schubert's touching beauty speaks through, and Silocea communicated this perfectly.
Overall I enjozed this recital way more than the previous day's (Paul Lewis recital at Glyndebourne) - a recital must surely be about communication with the audience, and even if the venue and repertoire assist, the performer still needs to want to engage. Her latest album, Sound Waves, includes most of the repertoire she performed here, out on May 13 2013.
The Guide in The Argus Brighton
May 07 2013
In a very clever and interconnected programme for a Brighton Festival Lunchtime Recital at the Dome Studio Theatre, the young Romanian pianist Alexandra Slocea demonstrated a rare sensibility as well as a stunning virtuoso technique.
Her theme of water was perfect for a coastal city, and she introduced the recital with three sparkling pieces by Debussy.In that French impressionist's fluid arabesques, the contrast if crystalline scalic passages are ofyen blurred but hers was a Dubussy sharp and focused, to great effect.
The links beteen the piano brillance, athletic composition and sustaining pedal of Debussy and Liszt are clear - less obvious are ninth chords and plangent dissnance - but all echoed in Liszt's Fountains of the Villa d'Este, played with a sweet delicacy and shimmering swiftness, wonderful in performance and composition.
The barnstorming Liszt/Bach transcription required a superhuman strength and ability, which seemed impossible for the slight young gilr to producem but her calm conviction belied the technical demands involved.
Two Liszt versions of Schubert aqua lieder, played with moving and extreme sensitivity. made a fitting finale - liszt acknowledging the genius of his predecessor and Silocea showing herself to be a pianist more than equal to the demands of both.
Mid Sussex Times
November 25 2015
Magical Alexandra is a Mozart star as orchestra shines too
[...]All this was appreciated by charming Romania-born young pianist Alexandra Silocea, who sat and shared the audience's enjoyement of Schubert second half after her own dazzling performance in the first half.
Alexandra's playing of Mozart's high - spirited PIano Concerto No. 17 was as delicate as her slender framce, amd her lyrical playing extracted every last piece of joy from Mozart's delightfully optimistic piece. This was sparkling champagne uncorked on to a keyboard and three resounding mounds of applause from an appreciative audience spoke volumes of her effervescent performance. [...]
The Sunday Telegraph
September 16 2012
Debussy rather grudgingly admitted that he knew of no one who had evoked Paris better that Puccini. Yet the Parision composer himself usually sought inspiration further afield, ofyen from the sea, famously so at Eastbourne in the case of La Mer. So in a piano recital at nearby Alfriston on the Sussex Downs, it seemed fitting that Alexandra Silocea should begin her imaginative, water - themed programme with three Debussy pieces.
Giving the closing concert of the first Matthew Rose and Friends festival (a refreshing new song-and-chamber-music series curated by the fast rising base), the young Romanian pianist quickly disclosed both complete technical security and that deeply layered colouring so essential to such works as Debussy's Reflets dans l'eau. She was no less commanding in the exhuberant fountains imagined by Liszt and Ravel, or in the tears behing Liszt's viruosic Variations on Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen.
The premiere of Martin Romberg's Eärendil, its title meaning "Lover of the Sea" in Tolkien's invented Quenya language, showed a composer still relying on Ravelian harmonies. But Liszt was the towering figure of this programme, which found Silocea cleverly coupling his late, experimental Nuages gris with the tempestuous Orage and bringing out the lyrical melancholy of two Schubert-Liszt song arrangements.