Sidmouth hosts pianist Alexandra Dareiescu

Rumanian-born pianist offers romantic recital at Sidmouth’s Knowle

RUMANIAN born pianist Alexandra Dariescu should feel quite at home in Devon when she comes to Sidmouth next week as it will not be her first appearance in the county.

She performed in the 2009 Honiton Festival, and in Exeter in June 2010 and it was at the recommendation of some at the Honiton recital that prompted this invitation to play, as part of the Sidmouth Music season of concerts, in the Knowle Council Chamber on Saturday, February 12 at 3pm.

Her UK debut, broadcast on Radio 3 from Bridgewater Hall, was in 2006 with the Royal Northern College of Music Chamber Orchestra and conductor Andr� de Ridder.

Alexandra was studying at the RNCM and graduated with distinction in 2008. Since then her career has taken her around the world playing concerto and solo performances.

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In England she appears at prestigious venues including the Barbican Centre and Wigmore Hall and in events such as the International Piano series at Nottingham and Leeds.

For her recital in Sidmouth she performs a programme with a distinctly romantic thread running through it. She opens with Beethoven’s piano sonata no 18 in E flat. Known also as The Hunt sonata, the piece has a largely playful fa�ade, but as always with Beethoven there are deeper things around.

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This will be followed by two Nocturnes, opus 27, from Chopin, who was the first composer to fully exploit this form of serenade.

Maintaining the romantic feel is Schumann’s Abegg variations. The inspiration for the piece was probably a young pianist with whom Schumann fell in love. Her name, Meta Abegg, is reflected in the notes of the theme (A-B-E-G-G in German).

Closing the first half is Debussy’s L’Isle Joyeuse, inspired by Watteau’s painting, The Embarkation for Cythera, the island where Venus is supposed to have made her home. For Debussy the island was actually Jersey, where he eloped with Emma Bardac in 1904.

The second half opens with two pieces by Franz Liszt; first his Ballade number 2, said to be a poetic programme of the triumph of love. Liszt transcribed the final climactic scene from Wagner’s great love story Tristan und Isolde as Isolde’s Liebestod, the moment when Isolde, having taken her dying lover in her arms, then expires herself.

After the stormy emotions of Liszt and Wagner Alexandra returns to Chopin for her closing piece, his final Ballade, number 4. Written in 1842 at Nohant, the small chateau south of Paris owned by Chopin’s lover George Sand, it is thought to have been a wedding present for his pupil Baroness Charlotte de Rothschild.

Tickets for the recital are �12, available from Paragon Books, Sidmouth, Lesley’s, Budleigh Salterton, Stagestruck, Ottery St Mary, Honiton TIC and Opus Music in Exeter’s Guildhall.

Those interested in this and the final concert in March, featuring the Tippett Quartet, can subscribe in advance, saving money. Details from Hugh Sutherland (01395) 514618 or at Euterpe

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