15 March 2023
By Guest Writer
Works by Rachmaninov, Chopin, Bach, Beethoven, Ginastera and Liszt for Iesous Records
In her release for Iesous Records, Iris Elezi presents a varied programme spanning Baroque gems to Romantic masterpieces. Highlights include Chopin Nocturne Op 27 No 2 – sensitively coloured and, when required, showing contrasts both emotionally and dynamically. It’s all very persuasive and inviting; there’s a generous and perceptive soul at work here. In Chopin’s Ballade No 1, Elezi makes a nice line in narrative fantasy without overriding the music’s structure and direction, even if, in the wilder parts of the Ballade (the coda springs to mind) I found myself longing for a more assertive approach – a Chopin with more punch. That aside, there’s much here in Elezi’s Chopin playing that is stimulating, characterful and ardent.
There’s little doubt Ginastera’s music is close to Elezi’s heart, as passion beams out of every note in the three Danzas Argentinas. The dancing rhythm, so typical of Ginastera, is played with razor-sharp clarity and the often almost-brutal chords pointed out with sweeping force. The second, sultriest of the set – and best known of all the Ginastera piano works – is played with graceful inner soul and with just the right amount of rubato. The same can be said for Elezi’s account of the Rachmaninov D minor Prelude Op 23 No 4 – never over-sentimental for the sake of it, and always allowing the poignant melody to sound out above the often-intricate accompaniment line. The Moment musical Op 16 No 4 fares less well – somewhat disjointed between sections.
In Liszt’s Liebestraum No 3 Elezi voices the opening with elegance, even if the tempo throughout is a little slow for this listener’s taste. Other memorable moments include the exciting third movement from Beethoven’s Op 31 No 2 ‘Tempest’ Sonata and the pristinely-executed D major Prelude from Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier Book 1.
Take a listen to the album below.