The Friends of Chamber Music presented Slovenian pianist Dubravka Tomšič with her beautiful and sensitive playing of works by Haydn, Beethoven, and Chopin.
Pianist Dubravka Tomšič began her Friday recital for The Friends of Chamber Music with Haydn’s Sonata in E-flat Major, Hob.XVI:52. Laurie Shulman wrote in the program notes, “power, delicacy and moments of lingering expressivity all manifest themselves in this sonata.” Tomšič clearly demonstrated all of these qualities in her playing as well as exceptional control and sensitivity of tone. Her tempo for the first movement was moderate and not rushed. The charming second movement showcased her expressive musical and intuitive abilities. With strong fingers and sound, Tomšič accurately executed all the technical demands of the sonata, especially in the third movement.
Tomšič continued the program with one of Beethoven’s great middle-period piano works, the “Waldstein” Sonata in C Major. The “Waldstein” Sonata requires detailed attention to the musical and technical difficulties. One of the hardest dynamic demands to execute is the pianissimo at the beginning of each movement, especially at a fast tempo. Tomšič brilliantly accomplished this dynamic marking and overall had a terrific sense of the piece. The second and third movements exhibited her sensitive and thoughtful playing. She shined in the third movement during the intense running scalar passages of the first theme.
The second half of the program included four works by Chopin: the Fantaisie in F Minor, Op. 49, Nocturnes, Op. 27, Nos. 1 and 2 in C-sharp Minor and D-flat Major, and the Andante Spianato and Grande Polonaise Brilliante. There is a certain freedom and improvisatory style associated with a fantasy, which Tomšič mastered. Chopin’s Fantaisie revealed delicacies and subtleties in Tomšič’s tone as well as powerful and rich sonorities. In general, her playing struck me as “old school” like that of past generations such as Arthur Rubinstein. She undoubtedly was the protégé student of Rubinstein and naturally adopted his sensitivity and intuition of music.
The two Nocturnes were impressive from the virtuosic passages in the middle sections, but also from the beauty and delicacy in her playing. Tomšič’s amorous and rich tones were showcased in the Andante Spianato, whereas the Polonaise section displayed her intense and powerful sound. Her playing was brilliant and exciting as she presented impeccable technique. She had such a calm poise throughout the whole concert even when the music became more technically and musically demanding. The Nocturnes and Polonaise were the highlights of the program. Tomšič was well received by the audience and played three encores.