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By Iride Aparicio

Photos courtesy Steinway Society

SILICON VALLEY, CA-- On the opening night of her  third Steinway Society Home Concert Hall's Concert (February -17) and her first online, Ukrainian Concert  Pianist Anna Fedorova, one of the leading young pianists in the world, appeared on the screen standing in front of  The Royal Concert Gebouw  (Concert Hall) building in Amsterdam,  from where she was going to perform her concert, faced the camera and introduced herself to her online audience. Speaking in English, she told them that she was  looking forward to returni to San José, where she was scheduled  to perform this concert in March, and where she had performed her second one for the Steinway Society three years ago, but that she was unable to travel because of pandemic.  She ended her short talk saying that she was looking forward to be able perform in public halls again, and specially, to return to San José.

The program for her one-hour online recital was:
Schubert-Franz Liszt, three songs:
The Miller and the Brook, Singing on the water and The Trout.
Manuel De Falla
El Amor Brujo (from the ballet of the same name)
Four dances from the ballet arranged for piano: Pantomima (Pantomime) Dance de la frayeur (the Dance of terror) Récit du pêcher (The story of the fishermen) and Danse rituelle du feu (the ritual dance of fire.
Frederic Chopin, four ballads:
Ballade No 1 in G Minor, Op, 23, Ballade No 2 in F Major, Op. 38, Ballade No 3 in A-flat Major, Op. 47 and Ballade No 4 in F-minor, Op. 52.


Dressed in a short black dresses, with black lace patches over her shoulders. With a straight back, Anne sat on the stool of her Steinway Grand piano and began playing.

She introduced the theme of Der Muller un der bach (brook) a song where the music imitates a conversation between a miller and a small stream, in a lento tempo, playing it softly and with a lot of feeling, making a distinction each time she played the theme, which is heard three times, and when she played the voice of the brook (Played in the higher tones) and the miller's voice (Played on the lower tones). Her masterful technique allowing us to listen clearly every single note even when the piece began accelerating, the theme began changing and a new melody was introduced. As the theme moved to the highest keys in the keyboard, maybe even changing key, the pianist interpretation became very elaborate and more difficult to cordinate because the left hand was playing in octaves and the right hand playing arpeggios. At the end, we hear the last variation of the theme, but this time sounding livelier than it was played at the beginning and played at a faster tempo.

After a pause, she played  Auf dern Waser zu Singen, a piece where the music is supposed to represents the voice of the water singing. Because apparently the water is running, the music is lively and  more elaborate than the music in the first piece. Also, to help its listeners visualize (with sounds) the speed of the running water, the piece is introduced with fast arpeggios played with the left hand, that change as the melody continues being heard played on the right hand. 

Di Fiorelle(The Trout)  In this song, the music tries to represent, in sounds. a trout jumping in the water. Because of it, its melody is loud and fast because the water is running. As executed by Fedorova, the dynamic changes in the music were so well controlled by the artist that she allowed us to visualize every jump.  As the volume and the speed of the piece increased, the online audience was shown, in a CU shot, the pianist's hands speeding on the keyboard the right hand moving in octaves and the left hand in arpeggios moving up and down, faster and faster as the dynamics increased to the point where the music exploded in the loud, fast and rich sounds characteristic of  Liszt's  virtuoso piano playing technique,  After the "explosion", the music stops.  Anna lifts her hands from the piano, stretches both her arms and rests them.

After her brief stretch, we move to Spain, where in the music of  De Falla, one of the greatest Spanish composers, she is going to play for us four dances from the ballet that he composed after he left Paris at the beginning of World War I and went back to Madrid where he create El Amor Brujo (Bewitching Love) inspired by the dances and the gypsies' music, from which he created different styles to be able to portray, musically, not only the gypsys' music, but the different supernatural aspects of the story which he based on the play of Hispanic playwright Gregorio Martinez Sierra, (1881-1947)  who is famous for contributing, significantly, to the revival of the Hispanic theatre.

On that night and before interpreting the music, Anna Fedorova took a few minutes to explain to her online audience the story her performance was going to convey:

The bewitching love of a dead man for his young widow Candelaria, an Andalucian gypsy, who is so passionate, that allows his spirit to appear to her as a ghost, at midnight when she is dancing in the campfire, and after casting a spell on her, command her to dance with him. And terrified, she agrees to dance with him and they begin dancing faster and faster around the fire, until the dance gets so frantic than the ghost falls into the fire and vanishes.

Anna Fedorova's piano interpretation of De Falla's powerful music was seamless. In Pantomime, the first dance, we could hear clearly the three note theme of the Andalucian music, and each time they are repeated until they change into a melody. In her Dance of Terror, the pianist manages to create mystery in the variatious of her ostinato sound on the left hand, and fright in the the running scales that she played presto with her right hand putting emphazis in the high tones which simulate the screams of fear. And in the Magic Circle dance, as the music tempo got faster and faster she managed to create mystery using her dynamics.

And Fedorova's interpretation of the Fire Dance had fire. As we listen to her tremolos. we could imagine the flames. and we almost could see Candelaria with her  arms raised over her head and her long black hair spinning in the air. See her skirt and under it, hear the zapateado created by her feet. And as she played the scales on the piano going up and going down  faster and faster as the tone grew louder, each sound appear to emanate from the her shoulders, rush through her  arms and hands, and then divide over each one  of her fingers as they stroke the keys. It was a powerful interpretation. One of the best that night.

But not the best, because on her online recital, in the opinion of Cultural World Bilingual what displayed Anna Fedorova's virtuosity as concert pianist, was her interpretation of Chopin's Ballades, which was magnificent. When played, each one of them met all the technical requirements of good dynamics,accurate tempos, and so on, but Fedorova added feeling to them. So, her Chopin's ballades' interpretation was played with so much feeling that some brought tears to our eyes and made us cry. By allowing her music to breathe and express itself we could feel it. And when we did, the music became so powerful, that it touched our hearts.