Anastasia Rizikov unleashes magic at concert

APRIL 12, 2014

Wonderful piano playing is always a delight, yet virtuoso playing is rare, exhilarating and unforgettable. Such was the case last night at the last concert in the 2014 Serenata Music series at the Wolf Performance Hall.

Fifteen year old Anastasia Rizikov bedazzled and bewitched as she unleashed her magic. She demonstrated her prodigious talent in playing pieces for an audience whose enthusiasm was only matched by its Bravas and standing ovation.

Saturday night’s program featured youthful works of four composers of two differing stylistic eras: Bach of the Baroque period, and Mussorgsky, Grieg and Balakirev of the Romantic period.

The compositions of the latter three composers were infused with succinct reminders of a musical national identity and of a musical folk idiom that were becoming ideologically essential to the overarching aesthetic of the music for which they were renowned. The suite, sonata and oriental fantasy forms of their respective pieces reflected each composer’s concern for a national consciousness spearheaded through a newly politicized musical agenda that would become more obvious in their later compositions.

That a young and brilliant pianist enjoys playing the works of composers barely older than herself is no accident. Theirs is a shared idealism shaped by emotional expression and inexpugnable sensitivity. And we heard it all last night. Nothing was spared either in the music or in the performance.

Miss Rizikov’s perfect playing was in perfect control all of the time. At the beginning of the concert she promised plenty of passion and fireworks. She did not disappoint. Not even for a nanosecond.

Iain Paterson is a Musical Theatre Performer and founder of The Broadway Singers.