Picks and Pans Review: Ravel: Gaspard De La Nuit Prokofiev: Piano Sonata No. 6
Resplendent in shiny black pants, a white ruffled shirt and a string tie, 24-year-old Ivo Pogorelich made his first impression on the world stage in 1980. It was not an altogether positive one. The staid judges at the prestigious Chopin Competition in Warsaw were affronted by the Yugoslav's sartorial splendor and unruly mane, and by his equally unorthodox and sensuous playing. They dumped him before the finals, prompting one judge—Martha Argerich, herself a pianist of world repute—to resign. The resulting international hubbub launched Pogorelich's career more decisively than any win could have. In this, his third American recording, Pogorelich is still playing with relish, and with a technique in the Horowitz class. With animated rhythms and vivid moods ranging from pugnacity to enchantment, Ravel's 1908 suite, based on three French poems, and Prokofiev's sonata, written around 1940, are ideal vehicles for the young pianist's expressive gifts. He has been cited occasionally for wayward interpretations and extremism in the use of dynamics. But there's no doubt he is a talent capable of creating rare excitement, one whose development can only bring further pleasure.