LA Opus Reviews Hollywood Piano Trio at the South Bay Chamber Music Society

by David J Brown

 

“…the improvisatory freedom of the Trio’s playing made particularly relishable the harmonic and melodic twists and turns that Beethoven executes in the first movement’s development section—which seem at the same time exhilaratingly unexpected and immediately inevitable.”

 

“…the concisely tensile Finale, kicked off by an imperiously arresting handling of the opening flourish by Ms. Faliks, was duly navigated back in masterful fashion through echoes of its predecessor to the final haunting reappearance of the first movement main theme…”

 

“…their combination of powerful emphasis and observation of the Allegro moderato marking enabled a truly exultant acceleration into the final Presto that set the seal on a fine performance of one of the greatest piano trios in the repertoire.”

 

San Francisco Classical Voice

by Ben Kutner

“Pianist Inna Faliks gave the convincing world premiere of composer Richard Danielpour’s Eleven Bagatelles for the Piano along with a program of Chopin and Schumann, Sunday night at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. A concert pianist has the task of maintaining momentum throughout an evening of solo works, and Faliks delivered.”

Full Review

Culture Spot LA Reviews February Mahler Performance in Santa Monica

Culture Spot LA reviews Inna’s February 2019 performance at Jacaranda Music in Santa Monica of Mahler’s Sixth Symphony in a piano four-hands arrangement, together with pianist Daniel Schlosberg:

“…a decidedly pianistic performance, with beautifully executed trills, judicious pedaling and richly shaded textures. If not supplanting the orchestral original, Zemlinsky’s version as played by Faliks and Schlosberg was a valuable opportunity to peer beneath the symphony’s instrumental garb and hear the symphony’s fascinating inner workings…”

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Colorado Boulevard

by CP Wren

Guest pianist, Inna Faliks, and members of the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra, violinist Roberto Cani and cellist John Walz took the stage and deftly swooped Barrett Hall into an intensely animated and tension filled performance. Inna Faliks plays with a kind of expression one could imagine of a highly accomplished jazz artist. But this was chamber music. She entertained with humor, delivering a rollicking performance using her expressive facial gestures and playful spacial flourishes above the keys. With her tautly moving, driving force, she balanced the hall on tiptoe, her antics often directed at violinist Cani, who played the “straight man” throughout the spiraling progression of Piano Trio No. 1.

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LA Opus

by David J. Brown

Ferocious and torrential, firmly establish[ing] her virtuoso credentials. Her playing [is] engagingly impulsive and improvisatory, skillfully observing turn-on-a-dime contrasts. [Faliks’s fingers are] positively diamond-tipped.

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South Florida Classical Review

by Lawrence Budmen

Robert Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor is a repertoire staple but Inna Faliks brought a fresh approach and highly personal interpretive instincts to her performance of this masterwork with the Miami Symphony Orchestra under Eduardo Marturet Sunday night at Miami’s Arsht Center.

An associate professor of piano at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, Faliks is a well traveled soloist who will hopefully schedule more stops in South Florida. On Sunday she proved to be an interesting and musically imaginative artist. From the opening bars of the Schumann concerto, Faliks bent the musical line, coloring her phrases with subtle rubato. She brought plenty of power to the keyboard-spanning runs and octaves. Her pearly tone and poetic bent suggested a more Chopinesque approach.

In the second movement Intermezzo, Faliks’ winning combination of whimsy and heart-on-sleeve fervor turned the short opening figures into a burst of pianistic song. The Allegro vivace finale was replete with bold syncopations but Faliks’ elegant and impulsive shaping of thematic lines was always cleanly articulated. Her lighter approach to the score was musically engrossing and refreshing. Marturet and the orchestra provided full bodied support with the deep tone of the cellos in the secondary subject of the Intermezzo movement particularly distinguished.

A standing ovation brought Faliks back for Liszt’s La Campanella as an encore. She deftly traced the melodic curves of the familiar theme and drew a bell-like sound from the Steinway grand.

The program opened with Brahms’ “Variations on a Theme by Haydn.” Marturet balanced the wind choir astutely in the initial statement of the Saint Anthony Chorale. Throughout the performance, he strongly underlined the string lines beneath the wind and brass writing, and evoked the dark Brahmsian undertow of the lower strings.

The horns brought out the martial, celebratory mood of the sixth variation, and Marturet gave warmth and flowing grace to the lyrical flight of the Grazioso section that follows. In the final passacaglia, wind and string figurations were transparent, and the final reprise of the theme was sonorous. Marturet mixed brisk clarity with spacious weight in a finely structured reading that featured strong playing from the entire ensemble.

Following intermission, Marturet led the premiere of Questa Via, a  love song by Karen LeFrak (whose Sleepover at the Museum, a work for narrator and orchestra, will be premiered by the Miami Symphony next season). A power ballad in the vein of James Horner’s My Heart Will Go On (from the film Titanic), the song was more appropriate for a pops program, but was charming nonetheless and attractively sung by Angelina Green (a onetime contestant on America’s Got Talent) and Hansel De Muñoz. Marturet and the orchestra turned on a dime to sound like an expert studio group. When a technical glitch forced the-leather jacketed Muñoz to change microphones, Marturet repeated the song, much to the delight of the audience and LeFrak, who was in attendance and basked in the applause.

The evening- and season-ending Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 in C minor got off to a rocky start. Although the granite-like opening chords were strongly emphatic, the timpani was overly loud and prominent. In the Allegro section of the first movement, the orchestra was not always together, and there were noticeable wind and brass fluffs. Marturet’s tempo never quite settled in, veering between rapid and plodding. The big climaxes were excessively bombastic.

The performance regrouped with a glowing Andante sostenuto. Concertmaster Daniel Andai’s singing, tonal sweetness was buttressed by the silky sonority of the entire string section. The bucolic pastorale of the third movement was aided by Marturet’s finely gauged dynamic contrasts.

Dark rumblings in the strings were potently projected in the introduction to the finale. The solo horn beautifully conveyed the chorale melody, which was eloquently shaped by Marturet. Strings sounded rich in the spaciously accented principal theme, which is often compared to the “Ode to Joy” melody of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. The Allegro non troppo took off with a muscular energy that the ensemble sustained right up to the coda, where the chorale theme reemerged triumphantly.

Full Review

Washington Post

by Simon Chin

Reducing Mahler’s Sixth Symphony to a piano recital

Sunday’s concert at the National Gallery of Art posed an existential question: Is Mahler really Mahler without the cowbell?

For the Austrian composer, the rustic ring of the cowbell took on profound significance in his symphonies, representing cosmic solitude in the face of eternity. Pianists Inna Faliks and Daniel Schlosberg put that proposition to the test, doing away with the cowbell — and every other orchestral instrument — in a herculean performance of Mahler’s Sixth Symphony arranged for piano.

This four-hands version, arranged by Alexander Zemlinsky, comes from an age when amateurs relied on piano transcriptions to become acquainted with the latest symphonies at home. But when listeners can now freely stream countless versions of Mahler’s symphonies performed by the world’s best orchestras, is this relic — one never intended for public performance — anything other than a curiosity or mere technical feat?

Schlosberg, in his program note, suggests that listeners could discover “unexpected details and structures” in this more intimately scaled version. But what came through more strongly in this performance was a sense of the Sixth Symphony as a mood piece. The duo offered a highly personal and subjective reading, full of shifts in color and tempo, with individual passages brimming with character: the manic frenzy of the first movement coda and the coiled energy of the scherzo.

Yet as Faliks and Schlosberg tackled this monumental, 80-minute challenge, they faced an obstacle beyond their control: the muddy acoustics of the West Garden Court, which obliterated inner detail. The pastoral interlude in the first movement, with Zemlinsky’s intrusive tremolos a poor stand-in for Mahler’s distant cowbells, could never hope to achieve a sense of cosmic stillness. Likewise, the dramatic structure of the finale disintegrated into large washes of sound.

The emotional weight of this most tragic of symphonies was felt only when the textures were thinned away: in the hauntingly spare lyricism of the slow movement and, most powerfully, at the conclusion, as the music burst with its final, horrifying crash and faded away into oblivion. The effect was devastating and most definitely Mahler.

Full Article

Classical Voice North America

by Wynne Delacoma

“With Faliks in the lead, the prickly Scherzo and huge, dramatic Finale fully reflected Mahler’s mighty voice. Faliks is a poetic pianist, unafraid to linger over a short pause or craft a melodic fragment to explode and fade with blinding speed. But especially in the transcription’s fast-paced final movements she never lost the singing-through line so crucial to navigating Mahler’s often chaotic universe. The Scherzo’s staccato, martial rhythms could be crisply stern but also piquant and witty. Its lyrical moments glowed, thanks to Falik’s pliant, flexible melody lines.”

Full Review

  1. Rzewski "The People United Shall Never Be Defeated" (excerpt, improvised cadenza) Inna Faliks 8:36
  2. Mozart Piano Concerto #20 - I Inna Faliks with Chamber Orchestra of St. Matthews 15:12
  3. Mozart Piano Concerto #20 - II Inna Faliks with Chamber Orchestra of St. Matthews 10:27
  4. Mozart Piano Concerto #20 - III Inna Faliks with Chamber Orchestra of St. Matthews 8:26