Melbourne Recital Centre
STEERING clear of sensational effects - a change from his 2010 program in the Murdoch Hall - Ukrainian-born Alexander Gavrylyuk played a straight-down-the-line series of well-known masterworks for keyboard in Saturday evening's first half. He showed a reassuring maturity of insight, keeping the scores' evolution continuously to the fore and making difficult progressions and challenges merge into the fabric rather than following the virtuosic crash-through attack favoured by many of his peers.
Bach's Italian Concerto was given spacious treatment, its middle andante an essay in restraint with no urging at its two dramatic pedal-point climaxes, while the rapid finale preserved its jubilation along with a welcome clarity of texture and an unashamed variety of articulation and timbre employing the piano's resources with intelligent musicianship.
What brought the ready-to-be-appreciative house to its feet was a white-hot reading of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, packed to the brim with interest from the opening personality-full Promenade, through a menacing Bydlo and benchmark vision of Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle, the suite climaxing with a sumptuous, pounding The Great Gate of Kiev.
For my money, Gavrylyuk showed at his best in Schumann's C-minor Fantasie, one of those rare delights where interpreter and music are in absolute synchronicity. This young pianist's grasp of Schumann's triptych of canvases was enriching.