Buddies collect for Olszewski’s Chopin deal with

Pianist Konrad Olszewski. Picture Peter Hislop

Music / “Chopin Vive”, Konrad Olszewski (piano). At All Saints Anglican Church, Ainslie, November 19. Reviewed by JAYDEN LOHE.

HOSTED by the Canberra-based Buddies of Chopin Australia Affiliation, in partnership with the Polish embassy, this live performance celebrated 50 years of diplomatic relations between Australia and Poland. It was additionally the Buddies’ first public live performance after a three-year covid hiatus.

Melbourne-based pianist Konrad Olszewski, who gained his Masters of Music from the Melbourne Conservatorium, carried out the works of Fryderyk Chopin (1810-1849) and a few of Chopin’s Polish contemporaries with nice drama, sensitivity, and technical dexterity.

His enjoying reminded us of the sounds audiences have missed and longed for, taken away by the covid pandemic – the extraordinary sounds of listening to Chopin’s music performed reside.

Olszewski opened with Chopin’s well-known Piano Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor op. 35, much-loved for its third motion, “Funeral March”. From the opening chords, Olszewski took the viewers on a journey exploring the depths of anguish, unhappiness, and hope, all of that are intrinsic to this piece. The “Funeral March” was hauntingly stunning, and the viewers let loose a collective breath on the conclusion of the rollercoaster last motion, having been led on a robust journey by Olszewski.

Chopin’s Nocturne in E flat main op. 55 no. 2 was a good selection to comply with the drama of the earlier sonata with a extra quiet and reflective nature, and Olszewski demonstrated his capacity to search out and discover new, pure tone colors within the piano.

Polish composer and virtuoso pianist Karl Tausig’s work Réminiscences de “Halka” de Stanislaw Moniuszko op. 2 was subsequent. Tausig (1841-1871), who was mentored by fellow piano virtuoso Franz Liszt (1811-1886), used themes from the Polish opera Halka to supply a difficult work with extraordinary technical calls for, clearly influenced by Liszt’s virtuosic fashion. However Olszewski was up for the problem and breezed by it with ease, showcasing his
technical prowess.

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After the interval, Olszewski returned on-stage for Karol Szymanowski’s work Masques, op. 34. Szymanowski (1882-1937) was a key Polish pianist and composer within the early twentieth century, and this three-piece work explored the three well-known literary figures of Schéhérazade (“One Thousand and One Nights”), Tristan (Tristan and Isolde), and Don Juan (identified from Mozart’s operas) in a extra advanced atonal fashion. It was the reviewer’s first expertise with this composer, however Szymanowski’s music was intriguing and well-worth exploring.

The ultimate works returned to the music of Chopin and his much-loved piano miniatures. These included Prelude, op. 28 no. 4 in E minor and one of many waltz-themed Grandes valses brillantes from opus 34. These have been so relished by the viewers that Olszewski returned to play an encore: Chopin’s well-known Fantaisie Impromptu in C sharp minor.

The live performance was a becoming celebration to rejoice half a century of diplomatic relations between Poland and Australia with the music of three Polish composers performed so excellently by a Polish-Australian pianist, setting the stage effectively for a collection of live shows deliberate subsequent 12 months by the Buddies of Chopin Australia.