Piano News

Wed 12 Aug 2015

6 stars!

Franz Liszt, Franz Schubert und Leos Janácek : Weimar,  Wien und Brünn - 19. und 20. Jahrhundert - musikalisch ,,absolute" Werke und poetisches Stimmungsbild:  Der  erst  25- jährige Moskauer Pianist Philipp Kopachevsky bewegt sich bei seiner Werkauswahl zwischen scheinbar gegensätzlichen   Polen.   Inhaltlich und formal deckt das Programm aber auch überraschende Beziehungen auf: Es geht in allen drei Werken um Leben und Tod, alle drei verarbeiten Motive in verschiedener Variationenform. Ein weites musikalisches Feld, das der Pianist perfekt beherrscht - Melancholie, Bitterkeit, Zärtliches und Trostendes wie auch Raues und Beängstigendes - das alles bildet er in ebenso nuancierten wie abrupten Stimmungswechseln ab und entführt in bewegende Hörweiten . In allen drei kompositorischen ,,Welten" scheint es technisch keine Schranken für ihn zu geben, vor allem aber die in Brünn am 1. Oktober 1905 entstandene Sonate 1.X.1905, die Janácek noch am Todestag des während einer politischen Kundgebung getöteten Arbeiters zu notieren begann, gerät zu einer tief empfundenen ,,Totenklage". Eine kraftvolle h-Moll-Sonate, eine sensible und zugleich lebendig­ energische Wanderer-Fantasie und Janáceks bekenntnishafte, sehr persönliche Sonate mit ihren teilweise schwebend wirkenden Klängen, einem schroffen Klaviersatz und abrupten Fanfarenmotiven - Kopachevskys technische Meisterschaft und sein unprätentiöses und hochmusikalisches Spiel machen das Hörerlebnis zu etwas ganz Besonderem. Sehr habenswerte Aufnahme.

Piano Classics

Sat 15 Nov 2014

“His playing is of a rare maturity, understanding and imagination, his limitless technique is completely in the service of expressing his strong and original musical ideas”

Fanfare

Thu 13 Nov 2014

«When I saw in the program notes that Moscow-born pianist Philipp Kopachevsky is participating in a project called Stars of the 21st Century, I could well believe it. The talent on display on this CD isn’t from a Russian whiz kid of the week. Kopachevsky’s hands communicate real musical thought, awaiting only the last touch to season his expressivity. As it is, Kopachevsky confidently holds the Liszt B-Minor Sonata together as more than a show of flying fingers. Like Yuja Wang, Kopachevsky adds a touch of intensity to every bar, leaning into the line and making you want to hear what comes next. Nothing is banged out, and the glittering delicacy of the right-hand passages reminds me of Daniil Trifonov. I’d say that overall, Kopachevsky’s reading of the Sonata is in the same league as Trifonov’s live recording from Carnegie Hall (DG).

Born in 1990, the pianist balances a professional touring career with postgraduate studies at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory (an increasing pattern among rising pianists, one notices). The cover photo depicts him as serious and boyish, with a Beatles mop of hair. But musical talent tends to be no respecter of age, and Kopachevsky’s phrasing is satisfyingly mature while at the same time applying a fresh coat of paint to a warhorse that happens to be Liszt’s keyboard masterpiece.

Liszt’s struggle with triteness was never a problem for Schubert—I can’t imagine the “Wanderer” Fantasy ever turning into a warhorse. Kopachevsky begins his reading with vigor and urgency, yet there’s room for subtle tempo swerves. Best of all, he handles the statement of the theme from the Lied Der Wanderer, D 489, like someone who’s singing it. There’s variety of touch throughout and a sense of remaining alive to the possibilities behind the notes.

Young pianists of ambition like to pair Schubert and Liszt; adding Janáček into the mix is novel. The Sonata 1.X.1905—the date refers to the day a young worker was bayonetted during a public demonstration—is an example of Janáček’s ability to dramatize emotional turbulence, one of his great gifts as a composer. The idiom is rhapsodic and free, pure expression on the wing. The two movements are starkly entitled “Foreboding” and “Death.” As piano writing, there’s something wonderfully alive here, and Kopachevsky is perfectly attuned to both the tragedy and the aliveness.

Unrelieved praise can make experienced readers a little suspicious, so where are the flaws? At times Kopachevsky phrases a bit stiffly in the Liszt. His transitions aren’t quite miraculous. He builds excitement in the Schubert a little early, perhaps (but his performance is exciting, and it does build). One great advantage here is the absolutely splendid, lifelike recorded sound, which brings great vividness to Kopachevsky’s playing. Listening to the program’s final send-off, an adroitly managed account of Liszt’s Valse-caprice No. 6, one of his delightful treatments of Schubert, I couldn’t help but wonder if Kopachevsky will become an international star or fade into the wallpaper of Russian keyboard virtuosity. His playing is too personal and intriguing to deserve the latter fate.»

South Florida Classical Review

Fri 18 May 2012

Young Russian opens Piano Festival in stellar style

Sometimes, things just don’t work out as planned.

A case of food poisoning sidelined German pianist Joseph Moog, who was slated to open Miami International Piano Festival’s Discovery Series Thursday night at the Colony Theater in Miami Beach.  But fast action by artistic director Giselle Brodsky tapped 22-year-old Russian pianist Philipp Kopachevsky, a stellar replacement that gave the audience full value for the ticket price and then some.

Kopachevsky, who was in Florida to perform at the 2012 ArtsNaples World Festival, gave a two-hour program showcasing his considerable breadth and depth with a series of works well-suited to his musical sensibilities.

An assertive approach to the keys and round, ringing chords marked Kopachevsky’s concert opener, Polonaise Héroïque by Frederic Chopin.  The set of five Chopin waltzes which followed established Kopachevsky as a young poet, capable of navigating a variety of moods, from martial to tender, in the blink of an eye.  While the waltzes would have made a great closer for other pianists, Kopachevsky used them as a warm up.  By the end of the set, he had moved well beyond any technical challenges from the piano and the theater into his own musical world, granting the audience intimate access.

Kopachevsky’s inexhaustible technical reserves and showmanship increased over the course of the evening. He performed the most ridiculously challenging works, such as Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 10, with an easy playfulness that marked his individual style.  Mixed with this capriciousness was an equally youthful, unaffected melancholy, transporting the simplest work on the program, Jean Sibelius’ “Elegy” from the King Christian II Suite, into a moving reminder of what it is to be consumed by adolescent longing.

In contrast, his lightness of touch in C.P.E. Bach’s Sonata in G major sparkled with a humorously agile, elastic syncopation in the Allegro assai which belied his utter control over touch and voicing.  This same control brought a gravitas to the Andante’s simple, cascading lines, and a crisp edge to the Presto.

For most of the evening, Kopachevsky was at his best in the lyrical sections of works, with breathtaking handling of the quietest dynamics and most transparent textures.  But as the evening progressed, he brought ever-greater strength and power to the music, revealing a full understanding of pianistic color and possibility.

Kopachevsky also understands pacing, and his concert closer, La Valse by Maurice Ravel, not only transcended everything else on the program, but plumbed the depths of his capabilities, confirming him as a virtuoso.  From the start, Kopachevsky established a moody, exotic landscape, out of which snatches of music emerged as if from a mist.  Kopachevsky brought all of his technique and poetry to bear on the epic demands of the choreographic poem, in a trajectory from elegant and smooth to grotesque and frenzied.  His completely unrestrained finale brought him off the bench repeatedly, whipping the audience into a similar frenzy.