…with a program directed toward around Schubert’s Grand Piano Sonata in A major, D. 959, one of his final compositions, written during the last months of his life and published 10 years after his death.
Avery Gagliano’s remarks framed this masterpiece with great sensitivity and reverence to Schubert’s late-life drama. She explained to the audience that Schubert’s very personal, deeply moving Sonata could not nor should be followed by an encore. Thus, her recital was begun with Brahms Intermezzo in B minor, Op. 119, No. 1 before entering the printed program’s unparalleled journey with another work in the same key, Bach’s French Suite No. 3.
The key of B minor in Baroque music has a peculiarly melancholic quality. Bach reserved it for a few of his most impressive works, such as the Kyrie of his colossal Mass in B minor. Avery Gagliano’s rendering of Bach’s French Suite was impressive and distinct.
Chopin’s luminous Barcarolle in F-sharp Major, Op. 60, followed. The Barcarolle displays unequivocal autobiographical features and evokes and reaffirms the world of values most highly revered by the composer. It was one of the last pieces written in Chopin’s final years of composition. Avery’s performance was simply masterful, capturing the intrinsic rhythms and melodies with clarity.
Avery cast an even more elevated spell on the audience from the opening bars of the Schubert Sonata. Her distinctly narrative approach put all of us directly in touch – intimately – with the profound personal feelings which prevailed just two months before Schubert’s death. The second movement of the Schubert sonata especially, resounded with incredible beauty and sadness. Her soft playing of the austere melodic paths proved memorable. Her performancewas an unforgettably impactful, inspirational experience.
Avery Gagliano’s recital convinced us that she is a strongly sensitive keyboard artist, one to follow. Next season at the MIPF, we will welcome her return.