Pianist Kadouch shows impressive technical arsenal in mostly Russian program

By Lawrence Budmen

David Kadouch performed French and Russian works Friday night at the Miami Piano Festival.

The Miami International Piano Festival presented the South Florida debut of 27-year-old French pianist David Kadouch Friday night at the Colony Theater in Miami Beach.

A prize winner at the Beethoven Bonn and Leeds International competitions, Kadouch has studied with eminent pedagogues Dmitri Bashkirov and Ralph Gothoni. His wide-ranging program encompassed the classicism of Haydn, Debussy miniatures, Russian rarities and the pyrotechnical tour de force of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.

Haydn’s Andante with Variations showcased Kadouch’s singing tone and understated, interpretive approach. His light, airy touch and nicely turned filigree conveyed the music’s classical grace and melodic richness. Kadouch’s Gallic sensibilities took the full measure of two Debussy preludes. Les fees sont d’exquises danseuses began in a hazy mist with bursts of color emerging from the keyboard in a beguiling sound portrait. Kadouch brought jazzy sizzle to Ce qu’a vu le vent d’ouest, the kaleidoscopic dynamic contrasts emphatically conveyed.

Nikolay Medtner’s Sonata Reminiscenza dates from the twilight years of Russian romanticism. Like Rachmaninoff, Medtner continued to compose passionate, melodic showpieces amidst the surging musical currents of impressionism, dissonance and atonality. An awesome test of a pianist’s technique, Kadouch’s command of the score’s fast runs, hand crossings and bold outbursts was impressive. Still, his performance was too cool, the music’s romantic sweep only approximated. Serge Taneyev’s Prelude and Fugue in G-sharp minor is a distinctly Russian take on Bach. Kadouch breezed through this neo-Baroque riff with speed and precision. The inner voices of Taneyev’s fugal writing were clear and sharply delineated.

Kadouch has the big-boned technique for Mussorgsky’s knuckle-busting showpiece but his performance of Pictures at an Exhibition was uneven and episodic. The opening Promenade was assayed in a straightforward, martial fashion, the repetitions too heavy. He excelled in the light, rapid flourishes  of “Tuileries” and “Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks.” The soft, pearly tonal palette of “Catacombs” was lovely but “The Old Castle” emerged too straight-laced and “Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle” was monochromatic, wanting greater color and variety.

Kadouch fiercely attacked Gnomes with an angularity more appropriate to Bartok. In the score’s final two movements Kadouch showed a steel-fingered, take no prisoners approach. The rapid alliteration and wide leaps in “The Hut on Fowl’s Legs” were realized with blazing urgency. In the “Great Gate at Kiev,” the ringing bells, Russian orthodox chants and visceral impact of Kadouch’s high-voltage rendition brought cheers from an audience of piano aficionados.

The Miami International Piano Festival Discovery Series continues 8 p.m. Saturday with pianist Fabio Martino playing works by Beethoven, Ravel and Scriabin. 305-674-1040  www.miamipianofest.com.

Posted in Performances

Leave a Comment

Sat May 19, 2012
at 1:33 pm
No Comments