tue 24/10/2017

Stephen Kovacevich 70th Birthday Concert, Wigmore Hall | reviews, news & interviews

Stephen Kovacevich 70th Birthday Concert, Wigmore Hall

Stephen Kovacevich 70th Birthday Concert, Wigmore Hall

Young Georgian pianist stuns at the heart of distinguished birthday celebrations

Stephen Kovacevich, gathering some of the best players of all ages together for birthday celebrationsDavid Thompson

Heartfelt birthday salutations to the great pianist first known as plain Stephen Bishop. For a recital in the early 1980s, when he first added the paternal Croatian "Kovacevich", introducing me to late Brahms piano music - Op 117, never more evanescent or troubling since - and the Beethoven Tempest Sonata, an incentive to tackle that work as best I could. For many unbudgeable CDs on the shelves, including the great duo partnership with one-time other half Martha Argerich and late Schubert sonatas. And for having the characteristic modesty, last night, to give a protégée the central spot in a heavyweight programme, inspiring some of us and infuriating others.

The Wigmore sometimes has a habit of cowling and muddying piano sound, but Kovacevich's habitual lucidity was never daunted for a moment

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