Friday, November 26, 2010

Pavlina Dokovska plays Chopin and Liszt

   The sonata form after long evolution in second half of 18th century became more than one of classical forms, it was itself a foundation of classical style. So it is quite obvious the romantic era made out-of-date four movement sonata. In the half of the nineteenth century it was the form obsolete as well in form as in idea. Among many instrumental settings piano sonata  as an exceptional case. Piano occupied central position in lounge rooms of the epoch and stayed the main instrument in romantic music. Using the romantic manner some of their sonatas composed Franz Schubert (the last three sonatas composed in Sept. 1928) and Ludwig van Beethoven (some sonatas from his later period, esp. No 23 F Minor Op. 57 “Appassionata”, No 26 E-flat Major Op. 81a “Les Adieux” and No 32 C Minor Op. 111). Later classical sonata form became the subject of so many changes that sometimes it is not easy to find consequence or continuation of classical idea in the sequence of compositions.
   This was the time for song-like instrumental miniatures with domination of melody or fantasy-like, loose and improvising romantic forms, just like in Ferenc Liszt’s Fantasia quasi sonata “After Reading of Dante”. Nevertheless there had been created some great sonatas in post-Beethoven times. In history of music high position took sonatas composed by Fryderyk Chopin (esp. No 2 B-flat Minor Op. 35 and No 3 B Minor Op.58), Edvard Grieg (Piano Sonata in E Minor Op. 7), Ferenc Liszt (esp. Piano sonata in B Minor), Felix Mendelssohn (3 sonatas for piano – E Major, G Minor and B-flat Major), Sergei Rachmaninoff (2 Sonatas D Minor and B-flat Minor) and Robert Schumann (3 sonatas with No 3 F Minor op.14 “Concerto Without Orchestra”). It is still possible to trace some formal connections with sonata form in freely constructed romantic works.

Pavlina Dokovska - Chopin and Liszt Sonatas

   Pavlina Dokovska is Bulgarian and American pianist who achieved many successes as performing artist. She studied in Sofia with Julia and Konstantin Ganev, then in Paris with Yvonne Lefebure and in Julliard School where she achieved her MM degree as student of Beveridge Webster. She recorded for RCA, Koch International, Arcadia, Elan and Gega New. She is also well known for music fans all over the world from brilliant live performances on philharmonic halls and festival stages so well as for her perfect recordings. Her repertoire is much wider than general concert routine. She is a specialist of big romantic and modern forms combining intellectual and virtuoso elements. For example her 2007 recording with Vladimir Ghiaurov conducting Bulgarian National Radio Symphony Orchestra encloses three piano concertos by Liszt (1st), Alexander Scriabin and Sergei Prokofiev (1st).

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   Some time ago I have published review on Pavlina Dokovska’s interpretation of Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto C Major. It was shortly after her first great international success – the solo recital in Carnegie Hall. And from this years came the very interesting vinyl record of the pianist. It has been pressed by Bulgarian label Balkanton and as I know, it is the premiere recording of her art, which remains the great achievement of young pianist. The two Sonatas stating opposite sides of the début album by Pavlina Dokovska are crucial point in romantic sonata history: Chopin’s Sonata B-flat Minor op. 35 and Liszt’s Sonata B Minor (1853) are strong opposition against classical form. Whole new feeling and sensitivity marked with loosely form and intuitive discipline made this two works the famous romantic compositions which represent extreme requirements – both technical and musical. And it is always great experience for listener to hear how pianist can deal with such assignment putting together intellect and intuition.

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