Early Music Festival Utrecht 2014: part 6

Fabulous fringe concert: Alexandra Nepomnyashchaya

If Corde Sonore (see part 5) made me totally happy, my “cloud nine” did not last long. The previous evening, I had listened to an interview on the classical music station which covers the Utrecht Early Music Festival.

The interview was with Alexandra Nepomnyashchaya and what she told during the interview about her background and training greatly impressed me. Her performance of two Scarlatti pieces impressed me even more. So I was really looking forward to hearing her in the “Grote Zaal” of Tivoli-Vredenburg.

At first, I thought it was my seat. I had specifically picked a seat which enabled me to view her hands, technique, playing. But after the concert, I overheard several people talking and later, I bumped into a friend who made the same remarks. The large music hall, with space for over 700 people, is just too large for a harpsichord – it seems. Apparently the lovely, at times etherial sound of this instrument can not be enhanced by sound technicians.

Ms Nepomnyashchaya also performed her selected pieces by Kerll, Bach’s French Suite, a Chaconne by Muffat and another piece by Bach technically perfectly. But in as far as it is possible to lay emotion and feeling into pieces performed on a harpsichord – such interpretations were absent. So technically an outstanding performance, but I have heard better ones.

Her last year’s concert is too long ago for me to remember if I also had the impression that technically things were brilliant, but that the performance could have been more expressive. Ms Nepomnyashchaya has won many prizes and regularly performs, so maybe this impression is purely my own. A more intimate venue would have made her concert truly fabulous.

Early Music Festival Utrecht: Alexandra Nepomnyashchaya, 1st of September 2014, 12:30 Tivoli-Vredenburg, Grote Zaal.

Alexandra Nepomnyashchaya is easy to find on the internet. Hear an excerpt of her playing the harpsichord in a Mozart Sonata.

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