Namirovsky opens Miami Piano Festival with fire and virtuosity

By Lawrence Budmen

Misha Namirovsky performed at the Miami Piano Festival Thursday night in Miami Beach.

Misha Namirovsky performed at the Miami Piano Festival Thursday night in Miami Beach.

The Miami International Piano Festival’s “Discovery Series” proved aptly named as Misha Namirovsky took the stage of Miami Beach’s Colony Theater Thursday night for a display of impeccable pianistic technique and high-voltage performances. 

With degrees from the Manhattan School of Music, Yale and the New England Conservatory, the young Russian firebrand is a multiple competition winner and widely traveled solo and chamber music player.

In a program of  largely less-often-played works by familiar composers, Namirovsky displayed his virtuoso bona fides.  He can play runs at rapid speed with pinpoint accuracy, digital dexterity and impressive power. His interpretive instincts were tasteful and refined, bringing some needed clarity to the mostly flashy repertoire.

Beethoven’s early Sonata No. 6 in F Major, Op. 10, No. 2 received big-boned treatment. In the first movement, Namirovsky favored huge contrasts of volume and surging rhythmic impetus. The second movement Menuetto-Allegretto brought one of the evening’s brief opportunities to hear Namirovsky in less extroverted music. He brought out the mystery of the opening bars and the contrasting themes were nicely weighted and spacious. The quirky wit of the young Beethoven was fully captured in a lithe and lilting Presto finale.

Schubert’s Sonata in C minor, D. 958 is the least often performed of the composer’s final three keyboard masterworks. Namirovsky played the bold opening chords with tempestuous force but he summoned Classical grace in the secondary themes. Schubert’s lyricism takes wing in the chorale melody of the Adagio, which Namirovsky assayed with lovely tone and eloquent gravitas. Namirovsky was fiery in the agitated central episode, yet sustained the music’s flow without choppiness. The tarantella-like conclusion was taken at top speed with the trills and hand crossings smoothly coordinated.

The program’s second half opened with the premiere of Nocturne for Piano—Bay to Charles by Roberto Kalb. An active opera conductor, Kalb was a fellow student with Namirovsky at the New England Conservatory. His score is a pleasant impressionist portrait of Boston’s Charles River.

Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in B minor was the composer’s favorite among his short vignettes. Namirovsky offered the full quota of romantic angst from the initial chords, which set the brooding milieu.

In three Debussy Preludes, Namirovsky’s color palette encompassed the quirky off-kilter figurations of the Shakespeare inspired “La danse de Puck, the Latin-tinged humor of “La serenade interromptue” and the Italianate vision of Naples that forms “Les collines d’Anacapri.” 

Without pausing for applause, Namirovsky launched into Scriabin’s Sonata No. 4 in F sharp minor. He reveled in the chromaticism of this transitional score in the composer’s oeuvre. The intensity, bold strokes and sheer sonic thrust that Namirovsky elicited from the superb Steinway suggested the darkness of later Scriabin works.

The enthusiastic applause and bravos brought more Rachmaninoff with the beautiful Prelude in G sharp minor, Op. 32, No. 12. in which Namirovsky delicately assayed the brooding Russian soulfulness. In five Cuban dances by Ernesto Lecuona, including the popular standard “La Comparsa,”  Namirovsky offered a fine synthesis of classical elegance and jazzy exuberance. 

The Miami International Piano Festival continues with Julien Libeer playing Bach’s French Suite in G Major, Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin, Schubert’s Sonata in G Major and Bartok’s Romanian Dances 7:45 p.m. Friday at the Colony Theater in Miami Beach.


Posted in Performances

2 Responses to “Namirovsky opens Miami Piano Festival with fire and virtuosity”

  1. Posted May 16, 2017 at 2:56 pm by frieda

    It was beautiful performance, and very warm atmosphere. Thank you Ms. Brodsky for all you are doing for lovers of real classical music.

  2. Posted Dec 01, 2017 at 7:40 pm by frieda

    I heard the best of Misha thank you

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Fri May 12, 2017
at 2:53 pm