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Pianist Tomsic is spectacular in her Boston debut


Works by Scarlatti, Chopin,

Beethoven and Debussy.

Symphony Hall, March 15, 8 pm.


THE GREAT YUGOSLAVIAN PIANIST, Dubravka Tomsic, entered Symphony Hall for her Boston debut last Friday to three standing ovations. Tomsic, a prot'eg'e of pianist Arthur Rubenstein, performed a wide range of works, from Scarlatti's baroque sonatas to Beethoven's and Chopin's romantic sonatas, culminating with Claude Debussy's impressionistic pieces.

The night began with a selection of six Scarlatti sonatas in various keys. Scarlatti, considered to be the founder of modern keyboard technique, was the greatest pianist before Liszt. Tomsic's rendition of the sonatas gave justice to the demands of the piece, as she skillfully flew from one key to another. The pieces took on the methodical exactness of the Baroque style, varying from smooth legatos to short and precise staccatos.

Tomsic then continued with Beethoven's "Appassionata" sonata, a rendition which brought out the power and majesty of Beethoven. The piece began with a dark, foreboding noise, hinting of the impending storm ahead. Tomsic's exactness, which had worked brilliantly with the Scarlatti sonatas, here hurt her a little, for Beethoven demands a passionate pianist who can bring out emotions in stroking the keys. Her dynamic changes, however, were well-executed.

The next piece, Chopin's Nocturne in C sharp minor, offered a suitable change from the violent sound of Beethoven with its somber and yearning melody. Tomsic followed this with Chopin's Ballade No. 1 in G minor. This musical form, created by Chopin in the 1830s, reflects the romantic poetry popularized by Wordsworth with its lyrical melodies and dramatic structure. Tomsic played it beautifully, sounding all the high notes and chords clearly, while smoothly moving through all the runs.

Tomsic closed the official program with a series of Debussy preludes that successfully showed the playfulness of the Impressionistic period. She rewarded the audience with an encore which included a demanding Chopin etude and Liszt' Gnomenreigne.