De Doelen 26 December 2009

For 12 years already, Boxing Day has been the day for Chopin lovers to gather together at the de Doelen in Rotterdam.

Rodrigues opens the concert with Chopin’s Ballade no. 1 in G minor, Op. 23. The pianist becomes the man Chopin in all his energy and Chopin becomes the woman Eliane Rodrigues in all her silky smoothness. It is a personal interpretation. Certainly permissible, when great artists of equal stature interpret each other’s work and give it their own personal translation. This can lead to even better results. After this exceptional opening, we are treated to Elgar’s calming Serenade for Strings, before being plunged into Mozart’s marvellous piano concerto. We hear a lively, friendly, loving, good-natured Mozart in this concerto and Rodrigues does her best to play it as purely as possible. Magnificent sounds flow from the Steinway without a hint of pretentiousness. One regrets that the premises are not suited to this concerto.

Chopin’s 2nd, well actually 1st, piano concerto is a story of “Loving” and Eliane Rodrigues’ performance chokes me up; I have to wipe a tear from my eye... The string section is a little too small, but every cloud has a silver lining: the lack of musicians lets the piano come into its own beautifully and allows every little detail to be heard.

Those who didn’t understand, or had forgotten, what Love with a capital L means definitely know it now. We get to hear the absolute best of the best. And it’s not enough for the pianist; she treats the audience to a Nocturne that is played if possible even more beautifully, more purely, more refined, more nobly, more clearly and oh so intimately. I am once more forced to dry my eyes... thank you Chopin and thank you Eliane.
Ludwig Van Mechelen - 28.12.09