|Nina Leonard Savićević|
Nina Leonard Savićević has been recognised as a precocious piano virtuoso for most of her life (Details in Classical Journey Blog 21 March). Now, at 17, she is working towards A-Levels, while applying to musical conservatories, auditioning for piano competitions, and preparing live concerts for the general public.
La Cathédrale de Rouen.
Le portail, soleil matinal;
(Musée d'Orsay, Paris)
In "La Cathédrale Engloutie" (The Sunken Cathedral) Claude Debussy describes in music the reported sightings of the lost city in the early morning light, as the sun's rays penetrate the clear waters of the Baie de Douarnenez. In perfectly comprehensible but illogical metaphor, the sacred sounds of the city's cathedral become increasingly audible as the light penetrates the waters. The bells, monastic chanting, and organ music, become increasingly strident - represented in the exotic pentatonic scale of Javanese gamelan - before fading again as the sun approaches its zenith.
From impressionism, Nina moved back in time to 1895 and turned to the symbolism of Russian composer Alexander Scriabin. Following in the romantic tradition of Frédéric Chopin, Scriabin developed his own atonal style inspired by his own mystical ideas, and demonstrating his principle of synesthesia, where notes and chords correspond to colours.
with his second wife Tatiana Schloezer
As Nina points out, this slightly challenging composition might be uncomfortable to the unaccustomed ear, but in performance the piece is perfect for Nina to demonstrate her expressive and controlled technique.
|Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart|
with his mother Anna Maria
Despite the minor key, the sonata is remorselessly buoyant and full of lively and inventive quirks. Nina brought every passage to life with unrelenting vivacity and vigour. In contrast to the picturesque impressionism of her opening choices, the classical ingenuity of Mozart's work, in Nina's capable hands, was a joy to hear.
Deftly caulking the junction between classical form and romantic impressionism, Nina turned to Scriabin's inspiration - Frédéric Chopin. His Nocturne in C sharp minor is a favourite of Nina's, and one which she is constantly refining and polishing. The precise intonation satisfies the classically conditioned ear, while creating delightful romantic images.
attended at his deathbed by sister
Nina drew on that impressive legacy in her own expressive performance, leaping from one cascade of notes to the next with nimble agility. A spectacular signature piece.
Nina's final two pieces related to the equally tragic life and death of Chopin's contemporary, Robert Schumann. In Leipzig in 1841, one year after their long-awaited marriage, Clara Schumann played the première of Robert's 'Fantasy' which was to become the opening Allegro Affettuoso of his three movement Piano Concerto in A minor - with Clara playing the première in Dresden.
Schumann died prematurely just seven years after Chopin, in the Franz Richarz Sanatorium in Bonn. It is suspected that he had contracted syphilis as a student and that either the disease, or the cumulative effects of crude interventions with mercury salts, led to his debilitating mental health problems and final demise.
and work as a piano accompanist for a further forty years. Supporting her in an ambiguous rôle as family friend and romantic admirer, was Robert's protégé Johannes Brahms. Despite being fourteen years her junior, Johannes only outlived her by one year.
In 1893, just a few years before they died, Johannes composed his final piano suite, four 'Klavierstücke' for performance in London. The final piece, the 'Rhapsody' (or Caprice) is as full of life and variety as anything Brahms created in his long and productive life. With Clara's encouragement his musical talent found an exhilarating outlet right to the very end.
Nina will be in audition soon for next year's 'Young Musician of the Year' competition. What a treat it would be for television viewers, if she were to be chosen to appear. On Good Friday (30 March) between 9 and 12am Nina can be heard on Soundart Radio in an interview recorded at St Margaret's Church after the concert. The following Friday (6 April) between 2 and 4pm Nina will visit the Phonic FM studio in person, immediately after her recital at St Stephen's Church in Exeter High Street.
Nina Leonard Savicevic
Saturday 24 March 1pm
2. St Stephen's Church Exeter
Friday 6 April 1pm
3. St Emmanuel Church
Saturday 7 April 7.30pm
4. Bath Abbey
Friday 13 April 1pm
W A Mozart: Sonata in Am K310
Johannes Brahms: Rhapsody in E♭ Op 19.4
Claude Debussy: "La Cathedral Egloutie"
Alexander Scriabin: Improptu in B♭m Op 12
Frédéric Chopin: Nocturne No 20 in C#m
Sergei Rachmaninov: Prelude in C#m Op 3.2
Frédéric Chopin: Étude Opus 25.1
(plus Variations Brillantes Op 12)
Robert Schumann: Concerto in Am
Joseph Haydn: Minuet in Gm
Fowey Festival of Arts - Sunday 13 May 12.30pm
Southernhay Church Exeter - Saturday 26 May 1pm
Lympstone Parish Church - Sunday 22 July 4pm