Tyson’s flowing art makes time stand still at Miami Piano Festival

By Inesa Gegprifti

Andrew Tyson performed at the Miami International Piano  Festival Saturday night in Miami Beach.

Andrew Tyson performed at the Miami International Piano Festival Saturday night in Miami Beach.

Andrew Tyson returned to South Florida Saturday night, performing for the Miami International Piano Festival’s “Discovery Series” at the Colony Theater in Miami Beach.

As professor Frank Cooper noted in his introduction to the evening, Tyson sees music as a means of experiencing time, free from constraints. That encapsulated the American pianist’s interpretations, which offered a free-flowing, yet meticulous perspective on the music of Scarlatti, Mompou, Albéniz, and Ravel.

The program opened with three sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti (K. 9 in D minor, K. 322 in A major, and K. 96 in D major). Tyson’s take on these oft-performed keyboard works was refreshing. The variety of his articulations, imaginative timing and pedaling—at times subtle, and others more exaggerated—further highlighted Scarlatti’s creativity.

The D minor sonata swayed in and out of its lilting rhythm with bright passages that complemented the lyrical opening. Tyson’s pristine touch carried over to the D major sonata as shimmering trills stood between contrasted delicate and trumpeted sonorities. Tyson’s manipulation of the pulse often recreated the sound of a Spanish guitar.

Highly influenced by the French aesthetic, Catalan composer Federico Mompou wrote inventive and exquisite piano music, which according to pianist Alicia de Larocha, is like he is holding an elegant secret inside his music.

The three movements comprising Paisajes (Landscapes) were written between 1942 and 1960. Tyson’s supple touch evoked a kaleidoscopic combination of colors in these visual reflections, as his intensely projected melodies hovered over the luxuriant underlying currents.  

Isaac Albéniz’s Iberia Book 1 closed the first half. Albéniz was a phenomenal pianist and his folk-infused writing displays his technical confidence. Reminiscent of life and nature scenes from the Iberian Peninsula, Iberia invites the listener to create their own aural landscapes.

As if in a constant state of gliding, Tyson navigated the dense score projecting a sense of weightlessness. In “Evocación” he highlighted the fandango rhythms and jota-inspired melodies with tasteful emphasis, while “El Puerto” with its zapateado inflections, showcased Tyson in a more extroverted expression. In the multilayered “El Corpus Cristi en Sevilla,” Tyson’s precise rhythms conveyed the echoing bell sonorities, building to a dynamic climax and contemplative coda.

Maurice Ravel’s five-movement suite, Miroirs (Mirrors) is a dive into sensory decadence. This pictorial set takes one through the elusive depictions of twirling moths by the lights, songs of sad birds, a boat in the mercurial ocean, the mischievous morning song of a buffoon, and a spacious valley of bells that disintegrates into nothingness. 

In “Alborada del grazioso” Tyson executed the repeated notes and fiendish passages with clarity and drive, evoking a jester’s rambunctious spirit. The rest of the set was a pleasure to the ears in Tyson’s pliable and refined pianism. His ability to extract the essence of the sonorities, coupled with wise terracing of timbres was at its best in the flickering “Noctuelles,” the melancholic “Oiseaux tristes,” and the spacious “La vallée des cloches.” Tyson’s control of the softer dynamics in “Une barque sur l’ocean” with its incessant arpeggios, was impressive—as was his ability to listen for the blossoming and decay of sound, attesting to his sophisticated ear and musical sensitivity.

The concert, attended by a small audience, ended with an impassioned encore of Chopin’s Nocturne Op. 15, no. 2 in F-sharp Major.

The Miami International Piano Festival closes its “Discovery Series” 7 p.m. Sunday with “The Magic of Opera and Piano Transcriptions” at the Colony Theater in Miami Beach. miamipianofest.com

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Sun May 13, 2018
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