Anne Koscielny concludes Beethoven piano sonata cycle at HCC
There's a Mt. Everest element to Beethoven's 32 Piano Sonatas. Some pianists feel they have to scale them because they're there; others because they find the music irresistible -- all of it, not just the real popular sonatas or the most physically demanding ones or the philosophically deepest ones.
I'm pretty sure that Anne Koscielny is one of those keyboard artists who truly finds abundant interest in the whole canon, a passion that accounts for the fact that she has performed the complete cycle several times in her career, most recently -- and possible for the last time -- in a season-long series presented by Howard Community College. I didn't get to catch up with this series until the last installment at Smith Theatre on Sunday afternoon, a make-up date for a concert originally scheduled back in January and called on account of snow (remember snow?). I confess that I had never heard of this pianist until receiving news of her Beethoven cycle at HCC back in the fall (I'm sure she's never heard of me, either), but I'm grateful for Sunday's introduction.
It's easy to forget that there are all sorts of gifted musicians in the world who don't have mighty PR machines behind them, wise and well-seasoned artists who don't produce lots of flash. The Massachusetts-based Koscielny has paid her dues in a variety of ways over a long career that has combined concertizing with teaching. She struck me on Sunday as a
Beethoven didn't necessarily write LOL music, but he could be very amusing, and Koscielny conveyed that element delectably in Sonata No. 16 in G and, especially, Sonata No. 22 in F, which inspired crisp, colorful playing. The composer's most serious, darkly lyrical side found extraordinary release in the Largo from Sonata No. 7, and the pianist tapped into that music with affecting eloquence. Koscielny's account of the "Waldstein" Sonata also proved effective. She took her time -- she's the opposite of the speed demons who tear out of conservatories today -- and made the music speak poetically, not just dramatically. The way she eased into the finale's main theme was particularly beautiful.
There was abundant power as required throughout the recital, but the thoughtful musicality behind the pianism that left the greatest impression.
PHOTO COURTESY OF HCC