Barbara Nissman

"...one of the last pianists in the grand romantic tradition of Liszt, Rachmaninoff, and Rubinstein"

2007 Barbara Nissman Concert Reviews

 

MONTERREY, MEXICO:   Llena la noche su virtuosismo

 

Seduce la pianista Bárbara Nissman en Festival de Sala Beethoven

La estadounidense Bárbara Nissman conquistó a la audencia regia con su recital en el Auditorio San Pedro.

 

Apasionada y versátil, virtuosa y poética, la pianista norteamericana Bárbara Nissman se robó nuevamente el corazón del público la noche del martes, como hace cinco años, en aquella legendaria presentación en que fue proclamada "reina del piano". Calificada por sus compatriotas como "Tesoro Nacional", esta gran dama del piano se presentó en el Auditorio San Pedro elegantemente ataviada en un modelo vintage de los años 30 para dar luz a memorables interpretaciones de Rachmaninov, Liszt, Barber y Ginastera. El programa inició desde lo más alto con una obra de bravura, la "Toccata, Adagio y Fuga en Do Mayor" de Bach, en una transcripción de Ferrucio Busoni, que el italiano arregló transformándola en una obra de apasionado romanticismo. Este fue el matiz general que la rubia intérprete generó desde la "Toccata", delineada con tanto ímpetu y energía que por momentos sobrepasó las posibilidades físicas del piano. En el "Adagio" dio un momento exquisito para terminar con una "Fuga" bien trabajada. Magnífico fue el recuento del "Nocturno" (Homenaje a John Field) de Samuel Barber, en el que estuvo elevadísima e inspirada, aquí volcó toda su sensibilidad, fineza y capacidad comunicativa. Su versión de la sonata "Waldstein" de Beethoven fue esbozada con gran convicción y virtuosismo, la proyección de una gran artista que tuvo un "Rondó" final elocuente y grandioso. Lo que se escuchó en la "Sonata No. 3" de Ginastera fue una verdadera lección pianística. Durante cinco minutos fulgurantes presenciamos una interpretación dominante. Y cómo no podría serlo si el mismo compositor depositó en ella su dedicatoria hace 25 años. Para Nissman esta sonata es una ejecución emblemática, única en su repertorio. Prueba de la total comunicación del autor y el intérprete, como pocas puede admirarse en vivo.  Uno de los momentos de más elevada calidad fue sin duda la confrontación con las piezas de Rachmaninov. Nissman transformó los tres Preludios y los tres Etudes-Tableaux del compositor ruso, en seis hermosísimas joyas sonoras, seis brillantes de enorme peso técnico y superior emotividad. Pero todavía faltaba concluir el recital, y qué mejor manera que con el tempestuoso virtuosismo del "Vals Mefisto" de Liszt, en el que mostró un pianismo apasionado, una voluntad de recorrer los extremos de mayor dificultad, de cautivar con un bagaje técnico poderoso y altamente calificado.  Aquí como en todo su recital, pudo advertirse el gozo que la pianista experimenta frente al teclado, con el rostro lleno de satisfacción, de alegría, de entrega total por su arte.  En suma, un cierre que arrancó los aplausos y el respeto del público, que le exigió volver con una pieza más. Ella correspondió con una interpretación vehemente de dos "Danzas Argentinas" de su compositor fetiche, Alberto Ginastera.

 

 

MONTERREY, MEXICO: AN EVENING FILLED WITH VIRTUOSITY

 

Pianist Barbara Nissman seduces the audience during the Sala Beethoven Festival. The regal North American Barbara Nissman conquered the audience with her recital in the San Pedro Auditorium.

 

Passionate and versatile, virtuosic and poetic, the North American pianist Barbara Nissman once again stole the audience's heart on Tuesday evening, as she did five years ago during her legendary concert when she was proclaimed the Queen of the Piano. Declared  by her compatriots to be a National Treasure, this great lady of the piano arrived at the San Pedro Auditorium, elegantly dressed in a Victorian vintage gown from the 1930s, that illuminated memorable interpretations of Rachmaninov, Liszt, Barber, and Ginastera.  The program opened with Bach's great bravura Toccata, Adagio, and Fugue in C Major, from a transcription by the Italian Ferrucio Busoni that transformed this composition into a work of passionate romanticism. This was the general tone that the fair-haired interpreter generated with the Toccata, delineated with so much impetus and energy that some moments even surpass the physical possibilities of the piano. The Adagio was exquisite, finishing with a well-executed Gigue. Magnificent was her interpretation of the Nocturne (an  homage to John Field) from Samuel Barber, inspired and played on the highest level, exposing all her sensitivity, finesse, and communicative gifts. Her version of Beethoven's Waldstein Sonata was imbued with great conviction and virtuosity, the projection of a great artist that made the final Rondo both eloquent and magnificent.  What was heard in Ginastera's  Sonata No. 3 was truly a lesson in pianism.  During its five brilliant minutes, we were in the presence of a masterful interpreter.  And how could this not be if its very composer 25 years ago had dedicated this work to her?  For Nissman, this Sonata is a spellbinding performance piece, unique in her repertoire- proof of the total communication between composer and interpreter, that few can bring to life.  One of the highest moments was undoubtedly bringing the audience face to face with the works of Rachmaninov. Nissman transformed the three Preludes and the three Etudes-Tableaux from the Russian composer into six beautiful sonorous jewels, of enormous technical weight and superior emotion.  What better way to conclude the recital than with the tempestuous virtuosity of the Mephisto Waltz from Liszt, in which she brought out a passionate pianism, a willingness to go through the extremes of major difficulties, captivating us with her broad, powerful and highly developed technique.  Here, as in all her recital, we couldn't help but notice the pleasure experienced by the pianist at the piano, with her face showing plenty of satisfaction, joy, and a total surrender to her art.  In sum, a finale that inspired the audiences applause and respect, and demanded one more piece.  She obliged with an impetuous  interpretation of two Danzas Argentinas from her favorite composer, Alberto Ginastera.    

El Norte, 11/8/07

 

 

Monterey Symphony/Brahms Second Concerto 

Sunday's afternoon Carmel audience left the Sunset Theater glowing with enthusiasm after hearing this expansive, lush program, which was crowned by a performance of Brahms Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major featuring soloist Barbara Nissman. Nissman, a petite woman, dressed in a green gown, made her debut with the symphony in the concerto, giving us a polished, sophisticated account of the demanding work. The Brahms B-flat Concerto ranks among the grandest in the repertoire. It contains the breadth and spaciousness of a symphony, the dramatic arc of an opera, the tenderness of an intimate love song, and the authority of an epic masterpiece. For the pianist, Brahms No. 2 is scaling Mt. Everest, a challenging, difficult and heroic journey. For the listener, the concerto evokes deep feeling and an uplifting sense of the vastness of the human spirit. Nissman opened the mighty opus with charm and indomitable strength. Earlier this year, someone described this artist as a grandmother on a rocket ship. Her raw physical power alone is enough to earn such a phrase, but she also possesses powerful keyboard technique and poetic suppleness and fluidity. This combined with her enchanting personality for a dazzling performance.  Nissman seemed undaunted by the virtuosic demands of the concerto transmitting its beauty and might with transparency and grace. She was met magnificently by Bragado and the orchestra sharing the immense musical journey as joyful partners.  Throughout the concert, the orchestra displayed the brilliance and impeccability that have become its signature under Bragado's leadership. A happy audience granted the event a robust standing ovation. 

The Monterey County Herald   10/16/07

 

 

NISSMAN CHARMS KSO CROWD - Knoxville Symphony/Ginastera Piano Concerto

Pianist Barbara Nissman joined the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra on Thursday and Friday nights for a rousing performance of Alberto Ginastera's "Concerto No. 1 for Piano and Orchestra," Op. 28. On Thursday, looking like a charming West Virginia farmwoman, Nissman tore into the concerto with the aggressive energy of a rock star and the intelligence of a chess master. Written in 1961 when Ginastera was in his mid-40s, the concerto is like a game of survival played on a terrain of crushed glass and needles. There are moments in dense forests when the piano and orchestra play hide and seek. One tries to lure the other out into the open. There are also agitated confrontations in open plains when the two forces ram into each other like bull elk in rutting season. All the while, Nissman operates like a member of the orchestra instead of a superstar on an oblivious ego trip. In the passages of playful desolation, her interpretations are light-hearted, tender and poetic, but moments later she hits with the force of a bulldozer. Throughout all these changes in topography, from the dark woods to the open vistas, Nissman held the audience spellbound until the roaring conclusion that brought a thundering ovation and roars of approval. Then, obviously delighted to be playing Ginastera, about whom she is an authority, like a grandmother on a rocket ship, she brought the adoring crowd to its feet again by roaring through an encore of "Danzas Argentinas," Op. 2, written in 1937 when Ginastera was only 21 and still a student.

News Sentinel    1/27/07