Schilde-Bergen 22 September 2012

A very real fairy

There she was, like always, like a sort of fairy, in her truly exotic soloist’s clothing, her gleaming black, luxuriant hair styles and with her typical wide smile, which is always straight from the heart. Eliane Rodrigues. Pianist extraordinaire, world-class. This is how she always appeared to me; today too? I’ll say!

Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849), Ballade No. 1 in G minor, opus 23. The images of a true ballade follow one after the other: turmoil, dream, action, rest, doubt, self-conviction, mastery, joy, loss and conquest. Impressive, that it was; and even more impressive and breath-taking was her playing of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in G Minor, Opus 23, No. 5. But really… played? That’s no longer the correct word. “Playing” music; it is an expression that we’ve got used to, but it is often incorrect. In this concert, the music was interpreted, experienced and connected with as one.

The fairy, who, under the light of the full moon, gives the sweet dream of love by two tremulous lovers to someone else in the open air. This fairy must have inspired the hand of Claude Debussy (1862-1918) when he composed his Clair de Lune. That same fairy was present in the concert hall as well, in the form of Eliane Rodrigues. Unfortunately, the fairy could not change the fate of those condemned to death, about whom Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) composed his famous Gaspard de la nuit.

In Le Gibet, you can hear the bells in the distance, non-stop, time ticking away; those awaiting death know it but repress it, thinking about what was, what is to come, is it something frightening or mystical? Just before this, he denies fate in Ondine and enjoys a false sense of security, even though he had a horrible nightmare. Scarbo… these are truly the final moments and then… death…. It is both gruesome and not; Rodrigues releases the man from his suffering. Strong.

And then? Then it is time for the pianist’s own work. Out of her 16-piece Momentos Musicais, she performs numbers 14 and 12: Espelho (The Mirror) and Miudinho (a Brazilian dance). Whether you want to or not, you hear that this grand lady at the keys has a bit of Chopin in her. He is present without being domineering and without her compromising her identity to Chopin. Timeless, harmonious pieces, rich in sound and sentiment. Rodrigues cannot conceal her rich experiences… Lovely!

After the intermission, we can dance along to Rapsodie Espagnole performed by Issac Albeniz (1860-1909). You can see the Spanish dancers in their wide skirts, their long hair flying loosely around them, the castanets clicking to the Spanish rhythms. A sort of mini-vacation, which is allowed because after this Spanish trip, things get far too serious: Ludwig Van Beethoven’s (1770-1827).

How can one even describe this interpretation? How?? How?? Emotion hits you deep inside and you get a lump in your throat. The noblewoman that the warm-hearted Ludwig always saw as his is given form, and during this performance, she is his.

Naturally, the public is extremely grateful and even more grateful is the pianist, this true fairy. She also performs two lovely short, joyful encores. It is worth more than a simple bravo….

After a bit of consultation with myself first, while listening to the Appassionata, I am certain: this is not just worth a Golden Label. Eliane Rodrigues has so much more on her record of achievements….

Schilde-Bergen 22 September 2012

Ludwig van Mechelen – Klassiek Centraal