The Sunday Morning Piano series is a great idea and perfect for those who like their classics in bite-sized chunks. The concerts start at 11am and feature a reduced-length programme lasting one hour – which means you can be back in time for Sunday lunch. And at just a tenner a ticket (which includes tea, coffee, and some rather yummy cake) it’s affordable too.
So, this Sunday, I rocked up to the Royal Concert Hall to see Alexander Romanovsky have a tinkle, so to speak. Born in 1984 in the Ukraine, Romanovsky is something of a rising star, and secured fourth place in the XIV International Tchaikovsky Competition earlier this year, as well as boasting an enviable repertoire. He’s also a bit of a dish.
Romanovsky has an elegance and poise that betrays the confidence and fluidity of a performer accomplished beyond his years. His performance was refined, dignified and impossibly svelte, but nevertheless punctuated with bold musical gestures.His rendition of Haydn’s Piano Sonata No. 52 was somewhat playful, taking full advantage of the composer’s generous harmonies, powerful rhythm and forward momentum. It was executed with exhilarating precision, but yet maintained a delicate intimacy that was perfectly balanced between the appropriate period style and Romanovsky’s interpretive instinct.
However, it was his second piece – Rachmaninov’s Piano Sonata No 1 – that really stole the show. The opening movement was quite possibly one of the most tremendous things I have ever seen. It was fierce and intense and deployed with such passion that the emotion was palpable. The subsequent movements were equally noteworthy; the sprawling themes plush and romantic, the climaxes ambitious and strong. Indeed, Romanovsky proved a worthy advocate of the great Russian piano tradition, handling Rachmaninov’s often hefty writing with skill and finesse, but never shying away from its weight and drama.
Yet the most amazing thing about Romanovsky’s performance was the passion with which he played. It was obvious that he knew both pieces intimately; every touch of every key was considered, he had courted and seduced every note, which, delivered with such enigmatic fervour succeeded, in turn, in seducing his audience.
Alexander Romanovsky performed for Nottingham Classics at the Royal Concert Hall on Sunday 27 November 2011.