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February 28th, 2023

Denis Kozhukhin, a wellspring of emotions

“The Russian-born pianist Denis Kozhukhin responded with an extraordinary concert to the expectations created by his first visit to the Alicante Concert Society. Despite his youth, he showed signs of a musical maturity that places him at the top of the world’s pianists, with an exceptional brilliance in both technical and expressive aspects. The result was an exquisite performance from the first note to the last, with an emotional connection with the audience who enjoyed, fascinated, the concert.

He opened the concert with Schumann’s Kinderszenen (Children’s Scenes), Op. 15, a set of thirteen piano pieces inspired by the composer’s childhood memories. Almost twenty minutes of excellent music in which Kozhukhin knew how to transmit the emotional depth and sophistication that evokes the inner world of childhood, reverie, with a poetic interpretation of the highest level that did justice to the mastery of the composer’s musical writing. In his interpretation, he combined apparent simplicity with a wide range of rhythms and figures that conveyed a sense of vitality.

When he had already won over the concert-goers, he tackled with extreme subtlety and determination a Selection of Lyrical Pieces, one of the most transcendental works of the illustrious creator Edvard Grieg. The pianist, like a goldsmith, interpreted with precision the expressive craftsmanship that the composer offers in each tiny piece, many of them faithful to the melodies of traditional Norwegian and Danish dances. Kozhukhin played with fluidity and lyricism to deliver a sound that was clear and precise, as well as beautiful and delicate, contrasting with moments of intensity.

He ended the first part with Brahms’s beautiful and melancholy Three Intermezzi for piano, Op. 117. The artist put his virtuosity at the service of expressing the complex harmonies of the work, with moving lyricism and colour. His interpretation delved into the most melancholic and sensitive feelings, but he also knew how to transmit all the emotional intensity that the piece entailed.

After the interval he played the Sonata No. 21 in B flat major D960, one of Schubert’s masterpieces, full of melody and depth. Kozhukhin’s undeniable talent and mastery of technique masterfully drew the contrasts between moments of subtlety and elegance, and those full of energy and dynamism, until he dissipated the final tension with a decisive movement full of vivacity.

A prolonged ovation was rewarded by two colossal encores that thrilled the audience with their tenderness and emotion. The first was Tchaikovsky’s Album for Youth, no. 24 In the Church, and the second was Bach’s fantastic Siloti Prelude.”

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