Severin von Eckardstein’s Mesmerizing Musical Journey at Ritarihuone

The accomplished German pianist, Severin von Eckardstein, brought his musical talents to the stage at Ritarihuone, and he’s set to take center stage again soon, performing as the soloist alongside the Tapiola Sinfonietta on Thursday.

Classical music enthusiasts were treated to a memorable performance on Tuesday, September 19, featuring a diverse repertoire that included works by Schubert, Strauss (arranged by Eckardstein), Rachmaninoff (arranged by Wild), and Prokofiev.

It’s always a bittersweet experience when a renowned pianist travels to Finland for just a brief half-hour concert. Those who appreciate the artistry of piano music often wish for a more extended recital, spanning a couple of hours within the same week.

However, there’s no room for regrets here, especially given Severin von Eckardstein’s impressive international career. He brought a splendid recital program to the Piano-Espoo concert on Tuesday and is set to enthrall the audience again on Thursday as he performs Mozart’s final piano concerto with the Tapiola Sinfonietta.

Eckardstein is an accomplished artist who mesmerizes our ears with his remarkable talent, having previously graced stages at events such as Kuhmo’s chamber music festival and Mänttä’s music festival, and now captivating audiences in Helsinki and Espoo.

Eckardstein’s musical journey began two decades ago when he clinched the Queen Elizabeth piano competition and earned numerous other accolades. Today, his style is a delicate blend of finesse and untamed power.

The theme of the evening’s performance revolved around arrangements and grand sonatas. Franz Schubert’s F minor sonata D 625, though somewhat unfinished in parts, has seen various attempts at completion. Pianists can even create their own solutions to address the gaps left by the composer.

Young Schubert drew inspiration from Beethoven’s major sonata in F minor (known as the “Passionate”), which could have provided Eckardstein with more opportunities to emphasize the composer’s sudden dynamic shifts. Nonetheless, the performance was characterized by its exquisite sound.

Eckardstein exhibited his mastery and creativity with his piano arrangement of Richard Strauss’s “Death and Transfiguration” from the tone poem. While Strauss was renowned for his orchestration, Eckardstein’s interpretation was both expressive and inventive, using pedal effects and impressionistic timbres to craft a truly unique rendition.

The evening continued with Sergei Rachmaninoff’s “Moses,” arranged by Earl Wild, a task that Eckardstein executed with delightful precision.

The war years during World War II saw Sergei Prokofiev composing his 6th to 8th sonatas, often referred to as the “war sonatas.” While these works initially received accolades, they were later criticized as too modern and “formalistic.” Eckardstein tackled Prokofiev’s 8th sonata, the most meditative of the set, with grace and intimacy, beautifully complemented by the Bösendorfer grand piano and the resonant acoustics of Ritarihuone.

The intimate qualities of the Bösendorfer piano and the echoing acoustics of Ritarihuone blended seamlessly under Eckardstein’s skilled hands. Prokofiev’s range of tones, from hushed whispers to thunderous crescendos, flowed effortlessly and lushly.

Unsurprisingly, Eckardstein’s Prokofiev recordings, distinguished by their original tonal sensibility, quickly sold out in the lobby following the concert.

To conclude the evening on a delicious note, Eckardstein treated the audience to Ernst Korngold’s final movement from his third piano sonata. Composed in 1932, this sonata simplifies expression into a chromatic style reminiscent of “The Miracle of Heliane,” an opera by Korngold. Subsequently, Korngold’s escape from Nazi persecution led to a flourishing career in Hollywood, where his ability to craft catchy melodies became legendary.

Severin von Eckardstein’s enchanting performances continue at the Piano-Espoo Festival on Thursday, September 21, where he will shine as one of the three soloists in Tapiola Sinfonietta’s Mozart concert.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *