A much more intimate affair at the International Concert Series, was with Beatrice Rana and her blockbuster concert at St David’s Hall. Rana, being in her mid 20s is making a huge impact in classical circles, with bravado performances in a wide selection of the repertoire. Watching her here within the intimacy of a recital, her grace and overall mastery of the piano leaves no doubts about her skill. Life seems ok watching Rana play, her control making it look effortless with every note.
Whilst Chopin has never really won me over, it took Rana to make me get him. His Études are a selection of opportunities for pianist to try out their various technical skills. The trills are legendary, as are some frightening moments made might by Rana are what took me aback. Even some harsh chords made me listening in wonder in just how modern this felt. The joy in these sections comes from their variety and also the great scope of the piano, Chopin being an early advocate for the form of piano we all know today.
The Miroirs by Ravel made for intense encounters. This of music of the vapours, as the impressionist visions melt away time and time again. The birds, bells, boats and even moths are all subject matters for these fascinating piano studies. Even more shocking are harmonies and chords, from the French composer, bold for their day, jolting even now. This feels like Rana’s bread and butter, the Spanish dance another highlight of the piece, crammed with Latin fever, but still as mad as a box of frogs. Ravel is very hit and miss and also an acquired taste, ah but to hear the chiming peel of bells in the final movement is an easy way to win hearts.
The finale was the conclusion of Stravinsky’s The Firebird, arranged by Agosti. This is by far the best section of the 45 minute ballet and Rana is a rousing success here. The rampant dance music and souring final tableaux are orchestral delights, just as fulfilling on the keys. This dazzling array was the perfect way to wrap up Rana’s recital and we didn’t even really need the two encores she honoured us with.
Rana is a towering presence in young musicians of the classic world. When can she come back? We hope soon.