Last night Luxembourg’s own Cathy Krier took to the Philharmonie and showed us just why she has been chosen as one of the brightest talents around.
Krier is something of a pianist prodigy. Having taken her first piano lessons at the Luxembourg conservatoire at just 5, she was then accepted to Hochschule für Musik und Tanz in Cologne at just 14. Since then she has travelled the world performing in North America, Colombia and all over Europe.
Last year The European Concert Hall Organisation chose Krier as a “Rising Star” for the 2015/16 season. This meant realising a childhood dream of hers to take her recital on a tour across Europe, taking in some of the most famous venues on the way. Part of this opportunity also meant pieces being written especially for her by renowned German composer Wolfgang Rihm and Austrian Denis Schuler, who wrote his first piece just for the piano.
She walked out to the hushed silence of the intimate surroundings of the Salle de musique de chambre and opened with Jean-Philippe Rameau’s “Suite en Sol”. Having not been written for the piano, Krier had to take the baroque styled piece and interpret it to work for her, and work for her it did. Her rich imagination and elegance shone through as her fingers glided over the keys whilst delicately producing notes so hushed the audience held their breath.
If that was her take of 18th century her modern piece written for her by Schuler started with dark intense undertones slowly simmering away, showing a great ability to build tension before piercing notes cut to your core. This menacing and somewhat unnerving piece certainly brought you to life. The erratic notes created everything that is good in music, by evoking emotion. You could really tell it was something she enjoyed playing and it’s here she excelled.
Keeping it relatively modern again she was light and joyous on the keys as she took on Maurice Ravel’s “Valses Nobles Sentimentales”. She was well balanced and with her subtle nuances of touch, allowed for the rich playful tones to help the audience conger up their own visual imagery to her music.
After the short intermission she returned to play another piece written specially for her, this time it was from Rihm. After a moment of composing herself it was straight into moments of manic high intensity, releasing some thunderous notes, announcing in no uncertain terms she was back. It might not have felt as contemporary as the Schuler piece but it’s the modern pieces that again seemed to bring out the best in her.
She ended the evening with an old favourite of hers, Henri Dutilleux’s “Sonate Pour Piano”. It’s also a piece she hasn’t played for near on a decade, so to come back to it with all those years of experience behind her and approach it in a difference manner must have been a great thrill. Her light rhythmic sensibility allowed the notes to dance around as if blowing in the wind before she harnessed her power once more and pounded on the keys with great fervour.
Last night’s recital was a well-balanced take on classical and modern pieces in which Krier showed the depth of her technical ability as well as her clever interpretations.
Hopefully the recognition and experience Krier will receive from this accolade will develop her further into a true touring artist of the highest calibre and then one day she may be returning to play the Grand Auditorium.
26/01/16 – Philharmonie