Cristina Ortiz in a programme and performance to please the pickiest classical musical lovers.
One of the more conventional of the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival programmed events was the piano recital given by Cristina Ortiz at UJ on 9 February 2012.
Cristina Ortiz is an internationally renowned Brazilian born pianist. She studied in France and the USA and lives in London from which vantage point she conducts her busy recording programme and international concert schedule. She has a reputation for being a little eccentric because she doesn’t like cellphones to interrupt her concerts.
The theme “Quasi Improvisando” has been, in my opinion, the most successful of the themes for the JIMF and last night I worked out why. For the most part one hasn’t needed the programme notes to point out the link between the music and the theme. One could simply feel, and enjoy, it for what it was. Last night the programme was formal and classical and the programme notes explained about the improvisational qualities of fantasias for the first item selected which was Mozart’s Fantasia in D minor K397. So the theme continued to be spelled out during Mendelssohn’s Variations serieuses op 54, and Chopin’s Four Etudes, Brahms’ Five Intermezzi, Guarnieri’s Two Ponteios and the Villa-Lobos final works, Valse da Dor and Festa no Sertao. The theme loses some of its impact when it has to be pointed out.
The music was wonderful. The playing surpassed wonderful. It was an excellent evening. Ending the recital with the distinctively passionate Brazilian works made one want the encore, which Ms Ortiz did not make us demand. She simply gave it to us. Debussy’s Clair de Lune. It was a strange encore, an anti-climax after the Villa-Lobos. Then we got one more – the Vian(n)a (both spellings seem to be used and I have been unable to determine which is the correct one) Danza the Negros. It was rhythmical heaven and the audience loved it.
Cristina Ortiz is worth seeing and fortunately she will be playing again at UJ on Friday 10 February 2012 in a chamber musical recital together with a string quartet. Note the starting time is 19:30, not the more usual 20:00. Tickets for rest of the Festival concerts at the Linder Auditorium and the University of Johannesburg Theatre will be available through Computicket. For other venues, including Northwards House, Villa Arcadia, St. Mary’s Cathedral, and venues in Soweto, please contact 011 447 9264. For more information please visit www.join-mozart-festival.org, and join the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival page on Facebook for regular updates on Festival happenings and competitions.