The prestigious Sydney International Piano Competition (SIPCA) is held every four years.
As part of the 40th Anniversary Celebrations of SIPCA, most recently held in 2016, Konstantin Shamray presented a brilliant solo piano recital at Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music yesterday afternoon (8 October 2017).
Russian born Shamray was the 2008 winner of the First and the People’s Choice SIPCA Prizes and six other prizes in addition. His success was unprecedented. Little wonder.
Yesterday’s was a most generous concert program beginning with Béla Bartok’s dissonant Piano Sonata Sz. 80 in three movements. Mr Shamray entered, sat and immediately become one with the Yamaha piano which was truly showcased via this sonata as a percussive instrument. I am not a great fan of Bartok, but this delivery had me spellbound.
After the exhausting challenge of the Bartok, the charming musicality of Mozart’s Rondo No. 1 in D Major K.485 served as a musical palate cleanser and was beautifully presented and warmly appreciated.
Following this, Mr Shamray exquisitely delivered Frédéric Chopin’s Piano Sonata No. 3 in B Minor Op. 58. The technical difficulty of this work was obvious but completely mastered by the performer and the bittersweet collection of emotions that is Chopin, obviously tugged at the audience. There was no coughing – and seemingly, hardly any breathing from anyone.
After interval, we were treated to Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s The Seasons Op. 37a, a collection of twelve pieces, each representing a month of the year. Mr Shamray was at pains to explain that The Seasons depicted the months of the year and their attributes in the Northern Hemisphere. Some of the twelve pieces are more often heard than others and to my knowledge, the complete cycle of pieces has not previously been played in recital in Australia. They were all delightful and many of them reminded us of Tchaikovsky’s genius as a ballet composer.
Following a standing ovation, Mr Shamray treated us to, in his own words, ‘Bach: the perfect encore with which to end’, an excerpt from the Goldberg Variations. Sublime.
The next two recitals by Konstantin Shamray will be held in Melbourne on Tuesday 10 October 2017 at the National Academy of Music and in Perth on Wednesday 11 October 2017 at University of Western Australia. Not to be missed!