Once again, another wonderful premiere in Ehrbar Hall of Vienna: at this second recital of the new C. Bechstein recital series, Bechstein has worked together with “Building Bridges” - the mentoring program by Sir András Schiff - for the first time. Sir András has also personally introduced Itai Navon, whom he taught in the Barenboim-Said-Academy.
“I don’t like music competitions”, explained Schiff why he has started his own funding program. Contrary to sport, where people can measure and compare performances by metres or seconds, art is not suited for such a competition. He would listen to around 100 young pianists each year and choose three from them.
Sir András has a very personal relationship to the young Israeli pianist Itai Navon, because he has already known him as a teenager in a masterclass. In return, Navon has neither disappointed his mentor nor his first piano teacher or his father, who both travelled from Israel for this special debut.
In the first half, Navon devoted himself to Haydn’s variations in f minor hob. XVII:6 as well as Schubert’s A-minor sonata D 784, which he has expressively interpreted. After the intermission comes two polkas, the Souvenir de Bohême Op. 13 by Smetana, and the variations and fugue on a theme by Handel Op. 24 by Johannes Brahms, who, by the way, has also performed at Ehrbar Hall himself. Through the variations, Itai Navon has showed us that such a young person could also be a mature interpreter already. He developed the work in great clarity and always discovered surprising middle voices; he also knew how to harness the incredible sound of C. Bechstein concert grand D 282 perfectly. This outstanding premiere of his was lastly crowned with two encores.
The C. Bechstein recital series in Ehrbar Hall Vienna will then continue on 11th May with Chinese pianist Haiou Zhang; after that, another pianist chosen by Sir András Schiff for “Building Bridges” - Avery Gagliano from America.
Photos © dpossephotography