In my many years of concert going, I have yet to come across a recital that works as well as Pallavi Mahidhara’s written to Mumbai on 8th December 2015. She has everything that her huge and much exalted bio-data promises and even more hints for the future. I would not be surprised to see her name at, for instance, the Roque ‘D’anteron piano festival in France. I dare to say that by now if she has an European sounding name. The bright lights still and even a recording contract would have come her way. What she displayed that evening was a cornucopia of sound animating from the Yamaha grand piano, which has rarely sounded this well.
Opening a concert with three of Ravel’s Miroirs pieces, she threw herself in to the deep end at the very outside. The shimmering and gossamer textures so difficult to achieve at the best of time were just thrown off the keyboard without any warming up a near impossible task. Second piece, Oiseaux Tristes was doleful and dolorous, achieving a simplicity of utterance which held me in anticipation. Alborada del Gracioso was simply a marvel of rhythmic vivacity and technical bravura.
Talking in the interval to friends, we agreed that a woman playing a man’s music like the Fantasien Op. 116 was no good unless you could play it like a man. It may seem chauvinistic, but she passed muster and was totally convincing.
The second half began with three short pieces by the 20th century Italian piano composer Luciano Berio. They were called encores and described as Brin, Feur Klavier, Wasserklavier.
Pallavi Mahidhara ended her formidable programme by the notoriously difficult – Six grand Études after Paganini, the famous Italian violin virtuoso. She described it as fun to play and truly, she made it look as easiest pie.
Let’s hope she makes a quick come back to Mumbai and possibly even a concerto may be in order.
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