Mastery, sensitivity add up to brilliance

Australian pianist Alex Raineri (23) was guest performer at yesterday's lunchtime concert in Marama Hall.

This soloist and chamber musician already lists many successes in solo piano and concerto competitions, including New Zealand's Kerikeri International Piano Competition.

His recital certainly revealed a brilliantly talented musician with a complete understanding of his chosen instrument, and an ability to perform varied repertoire with sensitive interpretation and immaculate delivery.

The recital began with Mendelssohn's Variations serieuses in D minor, composed in 1892 as part of a commission to raise funds for a large bronze statue of Beethoven in Bonn.

The individuality of the original theme and 17 variations was recognised, each with its melody shining through with brilliance, or sustained depth of tone as applicable, and the final in a controlled display of exceptional velocity.

Three Intermezzi, Op.117, by Brahms, were inspired by a poem - "Sleep softly my child, sleep softly and well - It hurts my heart to see you weeping.'' The themes and subjects of these popular Romantic concert pieces were so lovingly and tenderly distributed.

Raineri has immaculately clean, neat finger action at all times, and both feet seem automatic in their control of dampers and pianissimo, with never a blurred harmonic. Scriabin's Piano Sonata No.7 "White Mass'' (1911), a one-movement work in a very contrasting style, further showcased this young pianist's talent.

Ravel dedicated Le Tombeau de Couperin to the memory of his friend who had died fighting in World War 1. Always with tone paramount, the three movements, based on the French Baroque suite Prelude, Menuet and Toccata, flowed exquisitely, with utter control of clarity at unrelenting pace.

A brilliant recital.

-By Elizabeth Bouman 

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