Angelina Gadeliya's recital for Amateur Pianists International's 13th annual Celebration of the Amateur Pianist may have disappointed some in Packard Hall Thursday night. The flash and familiar melody that can be counted on to bring people to their feet was the last thing on the agenda of the pianist.
Gadeliya, who left Sukhumi, Georgia, near the Black Sea, now lives in the Pikes Peak region and serves as piano faculty at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and at the Colorado Springs Conservatory. Her Russian roots still dominate what she produces on the keyboard.
This pianist has a rare ability to make music "speak." This quality of giving life to music matched well with the vision for the recital: " Schnittke's Ghosts," built around the music of Russian composer Alfred Schnittke (1934-1998) and the composers who profoundly influenced him.
Mozart's Adagio, K. 540 began the evening's music. Gadeliya chose a quicker tempo than most, which almost obscured the sadness and passion that predominate this piece. She did capture the precious harmonies and subtle inner voices that make this work a treasure.
She took the same tack with the "New Viennese" composer Anton Webern. Gadeliya carefully interpreted his Variations Op. 27, his only composition for solo piano. This is as sparse as music gets, and the pianist made every note a passionate and brilliant moment.
Chopin composed emotion and energy into his music that still defines the possibilities for art form to this day. As expected, Gadeliya did not inject histrionics into his brilliant Ballade in F Minor, and reigned victorious over this potent musical.
In the only work of the evening that could be construed as entertainment, Shostakovich's "Variations on a Theme by Glinka," Gadeliya had the chance to express some keyboard flash. Her powerful left hand captured the Czarist majesty of antiquity.
The performance of Schnittke's "Variations on a Chord" was the most impressive of the evening. This is a terse expression that demands unflagging intensity and concentration. Much like in the Webern, Gadeliya did not allow a single note or chord to want for life.
All that had made the recital so effective was present in the performance of Scriabin's Piano Sonata No. 4. It contained both technical excellence and spiritual awareness to conclude this brief but potent program.