On October 16, 2022, two amazing pianists, Irina Moreland and Halida Dinova, performed in concert at Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall (New York City). And what an evening it was! The program focused on French Impressionist composers and especially the music of Claude Debussy. Earlier this year, Moreland released a recording of Debussy: Preludes, Book 2
on her own label and she performed four of those preludes for this concert as well as music by Maurice Ravel, Joquain Larregla, and a duet by Aram Khachaturian with Dinova. Making the evening even more special, the two artists were celebrating a reunion after a very long separation. They are longtime friends and former classmates who met while attending the St. Petersburg Conservatory. Both artists have performed in both solo and ensemble concerts all over the world, recorded a number of albums, and both teach music and performance at the college level. Halida Dinova released an album called Halida Dinova Plays Scriabin
on the Doremi label in 1998.
The recital began with Irina Moreland's performance of four of Debussy's Preludes, Book 2
. These works were composed in the early 20th century and combine innovative piano techniques with impressionistic depictions of cities, people, landscapes and nature, some of which were real and some that were imaginary. They are obviously very demanding pieces that require an extraordinary technique that both pianists very obviously possess.
The first Prelude
, "Broulliards" ("Mists"), beautifully captures the otherworldly feeling that comes from being in a heavy fog that enshrouds everything in a damp, constantly changing cloud. Moreland's interpretation and performance express this mysterious feeling wonderfully. "La Puerta del Vino" ("The Wine Gate") originated with a dream Debussy had about the famous gate outside the palace in Granada - he never actually saw it in person! Elegant and stately with a touch of dark mystery, Debussy's use of the habanera rhythm gives the piece its distinctly Spanish flavor. "Les fees sont d'exquises danseuses" ("Fairies Are Exquisite Dancers") is light and fanciful, depicting the rapid fluttering of fairy wings, slowing to a graceful dance among the flowers, and then darting from place to place. "Feux d'Artifice" translates as "Fireworks" and is a colorful, explosive dance all over the piano keyboard, complete with glissandos and very rapid runs that Dr. Moreland handled with grace and ease.
Halida Dinova played two pieces from Debussy's Preludes, Book 1
. The first was "La Cathédrale engloutie" ("The Sunken Cathedral"), which was inspired by an ancient Breton myth. Dark and very powerful in its majesty, the quieter, more pensive passages provide a very effective and evocative contrast. The second Prelude was "Les Collines d'Anacapri" ("The Hills of Anacapri"), a piece that plays homage to one of Italy's most breath-taking places. Lively and brilliantly descriptive, Dinova painted a vivid picture with tones and spirit.
Irina Moreland returned to perform Maurice Ravel's "Alborada del Graciouso" ("Spanish Morning Dance") from his Miroirs
). A bold and dramatic Spanish dance that features extremely difficult runs and repetitive patterns as well as beautiful melodic passages, Moreland again handled the demands of the music with apparent ease and vivid, colorful expression.
Halida Dinova's next piece was the flowing "Reflets dans l'eau" from Debussy's Images, Book 2
. As the title suggests, the piece is a magical, musical painting of reflections on water (something the French Impressionist painters were especially well-known for!). From gentle ripples to mild wave action to very still mirrored images, it's a wonderfully descriptive piece and Dinova's performance was excellent.
Irina Moreland returned for her final solo piece, "Viva Navarra" by Joquain Larregla (1865-1945), a brilliant and extremely demanding piece with sparkling runs, lyrical melodic phrases, and dramatically diverse themes intricately woven together to create a performance piece intended for the best of the best! Moreland handled it beautifully and with panache.
The grand finale was a phenomenal duet arrangement of Aram Khachaturian's "Sabre Dance" from his ballet, Gayane
. The duet was arranged by G. Anderson and Roe and the performance had the audience on their feet and cheering at the end! What a triumphant close to an outstanding concert! A sincere and heartfelt "brava" to both Irina Moreland and Halida Dinova for this magnificent performance!