Giselle Brodsky, artistic director of the MIPF, reviews the start of our 2023 Discovery Series

February 9, 2023
Giselle Brodsky

Reflecting on the incredible trajectory of the MIPF Discovery Series since 1999, it is inspiring to still find true artists with a genuine passion for music and a desire to share their vision with their audiences.

Alberto Cano Smit graced our stage at the Wolfsonian Museum by presenting a varied program that illuminated his artistry in a noble, compelling, and impressive manner. His connection with each composer’s world was especially extraordinary. It may be said that he presented their works three-dimensionally. His adjustment to the acoustical challenges of the Wolfsonian was also remarkable, managing the dynamic range of the piano with every shade and color imaginable.

He opened the program with a group of Six Preludes and Fugues from Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier. As he travelled through these Baroque masterpieces, one could envision Glenn Gould playing when he was young. He was especially impressive in the polyphony of the fugues, where he brought each voice with a distinct character, color and astonishing clarity.

His approach to Mozart’s C minor Sonata was personal and operatic, this time transporting the audience to the world of the classical period. Albeniz’s Evocacion and El Puerto from Iberia Book 1 were especially revelatory, filled with imagery and clear rhythmic patterns. Cano Smit purposely coupled with Messian’s Le Baiser de L’enfant Jesus, No. 15, where the contrasts between the solemnity of praying and the sometimes-terrifying evolution of sound created magic.

The program ended with Ginastera’s Danzas Argentinas, Op. 2, a descriptive work performed with great rhythmic force that conveyed the spirit of the Gaucho’s dances, first elegant, then lyric and finally, wild and unruly. The audience was transfixed.

Alberto Cano Smit generously offered two contrasting encores: Brahms Intermezzo Op 118 No.2 and Bach’s The Art of the Fugue Mov. 4, captivating proof of an interpretative genius. Alberto Cano Smit is a brilliant master of sound, structure, timing, and imagination.

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