Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Nataliya Medvedovskaya

Special post cover (with color change) by K.K.W,
original photo by 
Alex Fedorov
Nataliya Medvedovskaya, photo courtesy of David Abrams.
Nataliya Medvedovskaya @ Bargemusic:Piano solos of seven leading composers. By K.K.W 

Most of the time I forget how strange it is to be a "young person" and love classical music.  And yet it seems quite natural to need it, adhere to it in a way unlike another kind of music; a language of sound that never needs to be translated. That sound permeated Bargemusic, New York City’s premier chamber music concert hall under the Brooklyn Bridge on December 6th, a warmth that contrasted beautifully with the cold outside.  The person who walked up on the stage, Nataliya Medvedovskaya, is a professional, versatile, award-winning composer and concert pianist, who communicates with sound that never needs to be translated.
Nataliya Medvedovskaya, photo courtesy of David Abrams.
Nataliya doesn't just play the music, but radiates it through the piano and her compositions.  Born in Saint Petersburg, Russia (1974), she has been a composer and classical pianist starting at 6 years old, and performing in public by the age of 8. Since 2003 she's been based in New York City, performing at established venues across the United States and in many fine recordings, including Mapleshade Records CD releases. 

The concert began with Nataliya’s recently composed "Color Dreams" Suiteconsisting of Music Box, Aphrodite's Dance and Gossiping Girls. The delicacy and beguiling charm of the first two movements led into the humorous vivacity of “Gossiping Girls” with sudden bursts.  Color Dreams” Suite is an elegant gem sparkling with innate joy.  The melodies play with you; forward, retreat, rising, falling like a reed in the wind -- neither giving, nor receding.
"Ballade" (by Dana Richardson) is complex in its sound -- dramatic, forceful with a touch of the tragic.  Soulful, passionate music with a Chopin and Scriabin-like way of expression.  Nataliya's masterful pianism matches this perfectly, the sound being gently forced out of the keys.  Its steady, slightly unpredictable tempo, a haunting flow of sound gaining ground, like the first rising signs of an "acid-frenzy".  The abrupt end leaves you wanting more.

"A Tune, A Shift" (from Sebastian Currier’s "Departures and Arrivals") begins like snow gently falling on the dark surface of water.  The mystery of the music is interrupted by a sudden shift like a cold gust of wind.  It is one of the movements which is a variation and modification of the main "Tune" movement.  Tranquility, mystic uncertainty and relaxed mood suddenly turn into tension.  Nataliya takes to it like a fish to water, immersing herself in its slow rise, then frantic pacing like the movement of a storm.  Sharp rhythms and very fast tempo bring feelings of chasing and being chased.  Some minimalist sections where chords are repeated also bring a contrast of nothingness and action.  A subtle end echoes perfectly with the uncertain question of the beginning.

"Relentless Swimmer" (Eugene Marlow) is relentless in its pacing, arriving at its peak so quickly, you hardly realize it.  The momentum increases until it dies down, briefly, only to pick up the very same pace like the intense motion of a swimmer’s journey through the water.  Its waves and a little breeze come to mind, as you hear sparkling passages consisting of a combination of different scales.  Racing towards its own end was guided by Nataliya's more than capable hands. The piece’s rather oriental flavor gives it a very unique sound.
"Lullaby and Kontraphunktus" (from Derek Bermel’s "Funky Studies") starts off with “Lullaby” like a sweet whisper in your ear.  Its peaceful quality and distance of its notes is reinforced by a sudden eerie pause, which is then suddenly broken, a burst of notes leading to the unpredictable, intense pattern of the “Kontraphunktus” movement.  Nataliya's control of this funky, dissonant, quirky piece with fascinatingly developed contrapuntal lines, is never wavering.

The music of "Piano Impressions" (Alla Pavlova) is reminiscent of an impressionistic light pastel.  The somber beginning quickly moves into a soft ripple of notes brought to life by Nataliya's gentle touch.  The quietude is left behind by a riot of notes, playful and exuberant, until its demise into stillness.  The music rises again and then calm -- a beginning of delicate notes easing again into a sense of emptiness like tiny ripples on the surface of a pond.  The piece is actually inspired by fairy-tales of Hans Christian Andersen - The Mermaid, Little Took, Thumbelina, The old Tombstone, The rose from Homer’s grave, etc.

The hallmark of the evening was the world Premiere of the imaginative "Galapagos" Suite by Robert S. Cohen.  The first movement, "Rise of the Archipelago" opens with an interesting, playful, almost repetitive beginning, its local climax leading to a brief silence.  The music comes in steady, soft, cinematic, more dramatic and little by little develops into a huge volcanic explosion climax.  The wonderfully comical mating "Dance of the blue foot boobies" is a quite challenging movement with its frequent change of time signatures, which brings playfulness and a sense of unpredictability. Nataliya expresses its almost fervent spontaneity perfectly in this well-developed piece full of surprises.  "Iguana rock" follows as an excellent example of a Shostakovich/Prokofiev kind of miniature.  The music of it imaginatively describes Marine Iguanas indigenous to the islands, which spend a good part of their days sunning themselves on the black lava rocks, while intermittently spewing excess salt ingested while eating, out through their nostrils. We are then delighted with the perfect calm of  "Tortoise Moon", a movement about the Tortoise named Lonesome George, discovered in 1971, who was the last known individual of his subspecies. The last movement, “Run Sally Lightfoot Run”, shows us on a visionary level how flexible and extremely fast the Sally Lightfoot crabs of Galapagos Islands are, that you hardly could ever catch them. Nataliya brings out the suite's immense complexities, driving to the heart of it with all her passion.
Nataliya Medvedovskaya,  @ Bargemusic
photo by  
Alex Fedorov
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