Concert Review: Ariel Lanyi, March 5, 2023
By Paul Baker
A full house witnessed the breathtaking talent of Ariel Lanyi March 5 as he offered a program of late classical and full-blooded Romantic music. Sunday's recital included Beethoven's Sonata No. 2 in A Major, Op. 2, No. 2; César Franck's Prélude, aria et final, Op. 23, and Robert Schumann's Symphonic Études, Op. 13.
Born in Jerusalem in 1997, Lanyi studied at the High School and Conservatory of the Jerusalem Academy of Music. He completed his studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London in 2021. Among Lanyi's many instructors are Robert Levin, Murray Perahia, Imogen Cooper, and the late Leon Fleisher. His awards include First Prize at the 2018 Grand Prix Animato Competition in Paris; First Prize in the Dudley International Piano Competition; and a finalist award at the Rubinstein Competition.
Beethoven's 1795 Sonata grows from an Allegro (think woodland creatures) to the hymn-like Largo to the Scherzo Allegretto - Trio, which clearly nods to the music of Haydn, to whom it was dedicated.
Lanyi was fun to watch. When his right hand was busy, the left made a graceful arc in the air, where it hung, until dropping lightly to the keyboard at the right moment. And his face anticipated the phrase to come, with a smile, or a furrowed brow.
Cesar Franck's Prélude, aria et final (1887) was rich with French Romanticism: The Prélude's thick textures and martial force; the Aria's nocturnal flavor suggesting a moonlit balcony scene, and the Final's stormy turbulence, reaching a climax before reducing into single drops of rain.
The recital concluded with Robert Schumann's Symphonic Études (1852), considered one of the most difficult piano works in Romantic literature. A certain Baron von Fricken, an amateur, provided Schumann's theme. Lanyi offered a seamless continuum of Schumann's 18 variations and and études, each clearly contrasting in mood and level of intensity. Étude XI's ebbs and flows suggested a Chopin Nocturne.
A lengthy ovation led to an encore.
This performance was sponsored by Jun & Sandra Lee.
In a collaboration with the Token Creek Chamber Music series, Marcia Hadjimarkos will perform a clavichord concert April 15 on an instrument hand-built by Tim Farley. Pianist Michael Mizrahi will perform Saturday May 13.
Paul Baker is the host of "Listen Adventurously," a program of contemporary and 20th-Century classical music, streaming Mondays 5am to 8am at www.wortfm.org and over the air at 89.9 FM, Madison.