Vaiva Mažulytėwww.kamane.lt, 2008 07 03 Andrius Žlabys. Photo from www.vtv.ltIn brief: The organisers of Pažaislis Music Festival dared to entrust the stage for one performer only once during the three months of this summer – on June 26 the solo recital was performed by the pianist Andrius Žlabys at M.Žilinskas Art Gallery.The 31-year-old Lithuanian pianist residing in the USA performed the programme which encompasses all main music styles – from the Baroque to the 20th century music. Of course, it is a complicated programme that requires complete mastery: knowledge of music styles, specifics of the instrument and very good technical preparation.After accepting such a bold and risky decision, the pianist remains “naked” in front of the audience with all his advantages and drawbacks. Andrius Žlabys did not fear to “strip his clothes”, and not in vain – small faults of the concert only made the advantages of the performance more prominent.The popular intermezzo op.117 by J.Brahms and sonata No.17 by L.van Beethoven resounded in the first part, and three counterpoints by J.S.Bach from “Art of Fugue” as well as sonata No. 8 of S.Prokofiev were played in the second part.The choice of the pianist to start the recital by three slow plays–lullabies was not very usual. Performers choose more convenient works the most often so that they can feel the depth of the keys and adapt themselves to the instrument. A.Žlabys did not need this. The emotionally complicated music of J.Brahms, which requires big concentration, did not cause any problems to the pianist. The melody sounded perfectly. Concentration could be felt without any needless external effects.While playing J.Brahms, A.Žlabys controlled the instrument perfectly. Bösendorfer fortepiano moved from the hall of Kaunas Philharmonic has a very rich, deep low register but it lacks sonority and colours of the high register. However, the drawback of the instrument could not be sensed while the pianist played the intermezzo.A.Žlabys performed the sonata by L.van Beethoven stylistically faultlessly as well. Even though the problems of the imperfect fortepiano became more evident during the performance of this music piece, A.Žlabys did not discomfit for a moment.The performer revealed his best qualities in the second part of the concert while playing three counterpoints from “Art of Fugue”. Wonderful deep thinking, concentration, intellect – these are only several features of A.Žlabys that became prominent while he was performing the music of J.S.Bach. Every sound was heard and led to thought-of climaxes with huge power of concentration. It is evident that the music of J.S.Bach is extremely close to the pianist.It is only a pity that A.Žlabys did not leave J.S.Bach for the end of the concert. Most probably the traditional principle of forming the programme was followed, when the most effective work is presented at the end. In this case it should have been the sonata by S.Prokofiev.Still, it did not become the most effective. It was hard both for listeners and the player to jump from the 17th century to the 20th century, into the sarcastic world of S.Prokofiev. The monumental sonata of half an honour demanded special energy, which A.Žlabys lacked after the successful dialogue with J.S.Bach. The pianist started fighting with the inert instrument. However, such a fight did not leave a stable feeling.On the other hand, how would we recognise perfect playing if not for the small drawbacks? The stage of the festival was entrusted for the solo of A.Žlabys not in vain. The high-quality, concentrated and intellectual recital of the pianist surely enriched the music summer of the concert listeners.

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