The Beethoven A Major Sonata finds a mellow and emotionally responsive interpreter in Beridze, who treats the opening mvmt as an improvisation, its inwardness interrupted by sudden shifts in tempo and phrase length. An enigmatic chastity informs this music, at once bucolic and anxious. The March is steadfast and resolute. The yearning-laden slow mvmt is an introduction to the polyphonic finale, set in four voices. Beridze injects a breadth and heroism into this music that rings with authority but not bombast. The last 7 chords dispel the clouds and hazy doubts that have plagued a journey now declaring its grand optimism.
Brahms’ Rhapsodies mark the introspective aspect of his late career. The grueling octave opening the B Minor Rhapsody announces the suppressed pain—in a 3-note motif ––these works stoically convey. The 2 outer sections grumble and seethe with restlessness. The glum atmosphere dispels in the musette-like middle section. The coda is a turbulent iteration of the 2nd theme layered with troubled counterpoint. In the G Minor Rhapsody the militant resolve defers only occasionally to tender reflection. The recapitulation permits real passion to reveal itself, only to relent prior to a last eruption.
Schumann’s Kreisleriana, derives from E.T.A. Hoffmann’s journal of the imaginary Kappelmeister Kreisler, whose musings have something of Paganini in their diabolical wizardry, e.g., in mvmts 1 and 3. Schumann’s polar mentality breaks forth in such mvmts as the massive mvmt 2, in which introspection (Eusebius) yields to flashy, unabashed buoyancy (Florestan). A spiritual peace marks the 4th mvmt’s wide-ranging chorale. Galloping figures open the 5th mvmt, and suddenly break out into layered, contrapuntal, passionate arabesques. A lullaby spirit informs the 6th section. It ends quizzically. Schumann invokes a fugue for his 7th mvmt, a wild ride that has hurtling impetus. The last mvmt restores the canny “innocence” of play and mystery. The martial air that imposes itself is a maerchen, a fairy-tale episode extolling the Romantic imagination. Beridze infuses this work’s virtuoso polar mania with both dignity and poise.