Marja Kaisla, pianist and more
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A few reviews

TOM PURDON for Broad Street Review, on Rodrigo


One Authentic Deep Experience… Marja Kaisla, colored the piano version with an epic nobility that transcended any specific referents.



JOE BARRON, Montgomery County, on  Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto


Marja Kaisla, the soloist in the Fifth, was astonishing…



 MICHAEL CARUSO for The Chestnut Hill Local on solo concert including Paderewski, Gade, Liszt, Debussy and Chopin


...Paderewski also composed a good deal, but the only work of his that has remained even vaguely popular in our day is his Minuet in G major, often heard as an encore. Kaisla broke tradition and played it as the opening of her recital and gave it a technically stunning and interpretively stylish rendition. Her playing glowed with tonal warmth, sparkled with timbral variety, and breathed with eloquent phrasing through an engaging yet unaffected rubato.
    
Niels Gade was an early 19th century Danish composer. His “Watercolors” is a set of ten short pieces that projects a brief sonic image of scenes and moods. Kaisla caught the color of each in a dazzling display worthy of a world-class quick-sketch artist in playing that was delicate and exhilarating. She phrased with supple expression yet maintained a steady, rhythmic pulse throughout each individual piece as well as from one number to the next, stringing the musical decade together with imagination and discipline.
    
Prior to performing Liszt’s “Petrarch Sonnet #104,” Kaisla read an English translation of the Italian poet’s original love-drenched poem, showing the great Hungarian pianist/composer/conductor to have been more than a mere pianistic showman in this particular piece. Kaisla delved deeply into Liszt’s profound appreciation of the poet’s love of a woman who seemed out of reach in music of melodic and harmonic power, offering playing that throbbed with passion and coursed with heartache.
    
Three works by the French impressionist Claude Debussy seemed the perfect aural compliment to the artwork hanging throughout the galleries at Woodmere. The “First Arabesque” traced exquisite lines of melody and harmony – all expertly sustained by exemplary pedaling and played with an extraordinary freedom of tempo. The “Etude on Arpeggios” swirled across the keyboard in exotic blocks of chords while “Gardens in the Rain” was a shimmering splash of sparkling colors under Kaisla’s fleet fingers.

    

Kaisla rounded out her program with three Chopin Waltzes – all in the key of A-flat majo and all played with interpretive style and technical panache. The listener shared in the composer’s remembrance of past soirees as well as in the pianist’s command of the traditions of great Chopin playing spiced with her own personal touch