August 6th, 2007
The Russian pianist Anna Gourari was guest at the Rheingau Music Festival on Schloss Geisenheim.
The seemingly delicate and almost fragile person is a musical bundle of energy. So the impression during her interpretation of Chopin?s third Piano Sonata (b minor) which sparklingly opened the
evening. Anna Gourari has control of a clearly accented touch and radiates temperament and passion. While in the Allegro Maestoso she concentrated on the powerful contrasts, she was brilliant in the
scherzo with a virtuoso magic playing. Virtuosity which certainly has depth and substance with this musician.
Skrjabin?s 24 Préludes (op. 11) continued this convincing line after the intermission. In the version of the interpreter the 24 short pieces appeared as a compact unity with many facets and contrasts. Again Anna Gourari had her best moments in the more lively movements. The strongly played Allegro- Prélude (VI) would have to be mentioned here and an Andante (X) characterized of virtuoso eruptions. With a sharp attack the pianist mastered the Presto (XIV) before at an Appassionato (XX) the distinctive pedalling of the artist was in the foreground. And as if this would not already be enough virtuosity the Russian pianist intensified it even more in Skrjabin?s b-minor-fantasy. She seemed to want to drive herself and the audience almost dizzily, but, in between, also had a deep sense for melancholy and contemplative moods. The delicate, fragile woman just loves the contrasts. (Ge)
FRANKFURTER Neue Presse
Landau Jugendstil-Halle, January 2007
Soulful and colourful
There were times, when world class pianists regularly frequented concert hall in Landau. These times seemed over. With the Russian pianist Anna Gourari an international star again came to Landau with a remarkable concert.
The first part was dedicated to the married couple Schumann. Anna Gourari played Clara?s Nocturne from the ?Soirée Musicales? op. 6 very poetically and with tender delicacy, before she passionately mastered Robert's C-major Fantasy op. 17 with technical perfection, as well as in a wide-ranging manner as far as dynamics and time development are concerned. She deeply looked into the soul of this music with piercing intensity.
The second part was completely dedicated to the piano music of Alexander Skrjabin. She turned the 24 Preludes op. 11 into sensitively modelled, delicately accented and multicoloured shimmering character sketches. In her very suggestive piano playing every single Prelude received a unique profile.
All her piano art with all kind of nuances of expression and dynamics were unfolded in Skrjabin?s h-minor Fantasy op. 28, which Anna Gourari played fiery and passionately.
DIE RHEINPFALZ, January 2007
Reinhard Palmer, 5. September 2007
A sensation: Anna Gourari at Summer Concerts
Anna Gourari entered the hall as if she preferred not to be seen at all. However, the enormous tension with which she approached the grand piano ? as if she would feel save only there ? betrayed her. Before the first notes resounded, an unusual atmosphere was evoked, which did not correspond
to the previous summer concerts. Anna Gourari wants not to be compared, not to be assigned someplace, and also does not want exhibit her innermost part. What slumbers in her remains her secret, as appears to be her music: both cross-grained and catchy.
With the programme?s structure ? without intermission ? she already broke the chronological as well as stylistic logic. She puts Scriabin?s early cycle reminiscent of Chopin in front of the Chopin works, and still: she was able to ?emancipate? Scriabin?s cycle despite the clear relationship. That Gourari manages to win compactness and closeness from contradictions is apparently due to her ability to think simultaneously on more levels and, nevertheless, not to lose the view of the whole. It was baffling how she took vigorous action by brute force in Scriabin?s 24 Préludes op. 11, and to ?paint? in the following moment softest dreams. Her mutability from a tiger to a poet never missed to surprise, and forced her listeners to devote themselves to the moment, to the ?now?. In the Fantasy in b-minor op. 28 with her pedalling she managed even more to keep transparency ? here again a rare combination of song-like lyricism with stringent rhythm in symphonic grandeur. She almost playfully managed the wide-handed music by Scriabin, played fastest octaves with ease. Her clearly formed and sensitively reacting dynamics reacted in perfection to her impeccable technique. In Chopin?s Nocturne b-flat minor op. 9/1 even in the softest pianissimo her sound always was so substantial and submerged to a precise accompaniment in the left hand that transparency never lost clarity.
The changing of rhythmical harshness and soft songfulness impressed in Chopin?s Polonaise c-sharp minor op. 26. All the more the melodic beauty became impressive and sang full of fervour. But Gourari set limits to her emotions and always kept control. The spectrum remained highly diversified and the physical playing of the Russian living in Munich revealed an extreme dedication. Here also you can find this kind of contradiction between extroversion and introversion, which Gourari also didn?t hide in the Scherzo in b-flat minor. A real celebration of contrasts between resounding thunder and silent songs ? not meaning impulsive eruptions and hearty revelations, but in the service of the wide context, of the mixture of colours and atmospheres ? wisdom and intelligence ruled over the feelings, and this is the only way to extend a such conclusive dramaturgy over the whole work. Frenetic ovations