Review: Demanding triumph in recital

music
“Weereewa – Voices of the Land”
Marcela Fiorillo
Larry Sitsky Room, March 14
Reviewed by Clinton White

THE diminutive pianist Marcela Fiorillo is a power pack of agility and confidence, measured with romanticism and sensitivity, who is able to extract from her instrument its full range of emotions.

Marcela Fiorillo.

Marcela Fiorillo… standing ovation.

Her recital drew conclusively on all of those qualities in a thoughtfully constructed program, which included the world premiere of her own composition, commissioned by the Weereewa Festival Committee, “Suite Weereewa, Op 3”.

The first half really set the scene for Fiorillo’s work, drawing on the music of Sculthorpe and Edwards and Argentine composers Juan Carlos Zorzi and Alberto Ginastera.

The program was not what you would call entertaining; it was highly intellectual, demanding as much concentration and interpretation from the audience as the artist. There was drama, mystery, tenderness, rhythm and abstract thoughts, along with hints of Rachmaninoff and Beethoven and perhaps a French composer or two.

But it was the “Weereewa Suite” that stole the show. It was an unlikely combination – music by an Argentine composer/pianist, mixed with introductions to each of the four movements, written by the composer but transcribed to the Ngunnawal language and recited by Duncan Smith about the mysteries of Weereewa, or Lake George, and its landscapes and moods.

The piece demanded considerable virtuosity, which Fiorillo delivered brilliantly. The modest-sized audience was captivated throughout; it was easy to picture the images conjured up by each movement. The sustained standing ovation was testament to its consummate success.

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