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FRIENDS OF MUSIC: INETTE SWART RECITAL (article first published : 2004-03-27)

Inette Swart, a pianist from Pretoria only about 20 years old, demonstrated quite staggering prowess in a long and taxing programme for the Friends of Music earlier this week. From Bach to Prokofiev, the technical problems were handled with power and authority. More important, her musical insight showed a maturity far beyond her years.

Inette Swart is a third year B.Mus student at the University of Pretoria. The veteran concert pianist Lionel Bowman thinks very highly of her and believes that she is likely eventually to take her place on the international stage. Nobody at her Friends of Music recital would dispute that view. Her opening item, Bachís magnificent Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue in D minor, showed crystal clear articulation, a judicious use of the pedal and a strong sense of the shape of the music as she unravelled the complexities of Bachís score.

Haydnís Sonata in E flat major, his final piano sonata, showed again the pianistís grasp of form and the romantic side of her musical personality found full expression in Chopinís beautiful Barcarolle. This is a difficult work to bring off convincingly, but she succeeded.

After the languors of Chopinís luxurious gondola came the brutal driving rhythms of Prokofievís Toccata Op. 11. This was virtuoso playing of the first order, as was the performance of Brahmsís immensely difficult Paganini Variations Op. 35, Book II. In both these works the pianistís slender physique generated great power at the keyboard.

Lisztís transcription of the Liebestod from Wagnerís Tristan and Isolde is not my favourite piano piece, but Inette played it with an emotional bravura which would have brought an approving smile from the old master pianist himself.

More Chopin, the fourth Ballade, and more difficult, fast Prokofiev, the Sonata No. 3 in A minor, completed a programme of memorable piano playing.

The Friends of Music ďprelude performerĒ, funded by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, was Nonhlanhla Mkhimkhulu, an opera student at the University of KwaZulu/Natal. In songs by Schubert, Reynaldo Hahn and Engelbert Humperdinck she showed a strong and true soprano voice and a warm, smiling personality. - Michael Green

Friends of Music gratefully acknowledges sponsorship from Non-Ferrous Metals and Quad Triangle with support funding from Business and Arts South Africa (BASA).




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