THE SPENCERTOWN CHAMBER MUSIC Series Gala Concert traditionally offers a distinguished artist and a post-concert reception. The idea is to make up (through high-priced tickets) some of the money lost on the other concerts of the summer season. As every concert-goer knows, one of the grimmer realities of the music world is the lack of financial support.
A sonata by Mozart can become the sore thumb in an otherwise romantic program: played too romantically it loses its perkiness, yet a too-proper interpretation can make it seem trivial against the subsequent warhorses. Ms Artymiw found an effective voice for the Sonata in B-flat, K. 281, by bringing out the playfulness of the piece. She played the lyrical phrases like the little arias they are, interrupting them with the witty, contrasting phrases so characteristic of Mozart.
Robert Schumann’s Fantasy in C, op. 17, is laid out like a sonata but colored with the composer’s longing for his then-distant beloved Clara, and reflective also of Schumann’s admiration for Beethoven, whom the piece was written to honor. Filled with massive arpeggios behind the sweeping themes, it’s the sort of piece that must have sent Clara into a swoon. Artymiw let out all the stops in the first two movements, pulling back for the thoughtful finale. She is an exciting pianist who also manages to be as subtle as necessary.
The subtlety came to the fore in Debussy’s Images, Book 2, with its musical descriptions of bells, moonlight, goldfish, and so forth. The Polonaise-Fantasie, op. 61, by Chopin brought the concert to a virtuosic close. She played short works by Sibelius and Mendelssohn as encores.
It should be noted that Artymiw played this concert for a reduced fee to benefit the fine series that the Spencertown Academy hosts, and her belief in the concerts being presented should be a good example to for any audience in search of good things to see and hear.
– Albany Knickerbocker News, 3 July 1984