In true traditional style Pascal Mantin proved to be a first-rate virtuoso of Romantic music yesterday evening. In a programme that would have left any seasoned performer wallowing in some trepidation, Pascal rose up to the occasion and delivered an impeccable performance that left an enthralled audience thrilled to bits throughout the evening.
Starting with the lyrical Impromptu op. 90 no. 2 by Schubert and moving on to a few of the more beautiful pieces by Chopin, namely, 3 Waltzes op. 64 no. 2, op. 34 no. 2, and the op. 42, followed by the op. 7 no. 2 and the op. 41 no. 4 Mazurkas and crowned with the simply ravishing Scherzo op. 39 no. 3, Pascal left no-one in any doubt that this was a performance with a difference. Supremely elegant, lyrical and never over-wrought, these works came across as woven filigree over a tapestry.
After a very short break, Pascal came back for three Liszt pieces. No Liszt piece is for the faint-hearted and certainly not the Legend St François de Paule walking on the waves S 175 no. 2, the Consolation in Db Major no. 3 or the devilish Campanella. Employing the requested panache, zest and flamboyance, these were electrifying executions of works that either succeed or fail. There are no half measures one could fall back on, it’s a do or die situation and a big do it was!!
The recital finished with Albeniz’s El Corpus Christi en Sévilla (from Iberia), a work that Albeniz himself considered destroying because of the sheer difficulty of the piano score. It’s a good thing he didn’t for Pascal Mantin dazzled beyond comprehension with his virtuosic technique, pyrotechnical impossibilities and wonderful interpretation.
Such world-class performances and others we have had certainly go a long way towards establishing the Victoria International Arts Festival as one of the leading Festivals on the islands!