The best moments of the American Quartet’s concert, however, were the work of pianist Lydia Artymiw, the rare chamber musician who is able to maintain ensemble cohesion while projecting a strong and appealing musical personality. Tempo flexibility, and the expressive dividends that come with it, are almost impossible to pull off in modestly scaled Mozart. Yet Artymiw did so, externalizing inner emotional worlds that normally may have lain dormant.
There aren’t many singers today you’d rather hear than Benita Valente. And her pianist was the exceptional Lydia Artymiw, whose subtly variegated colorations wove a gossamer web around Valente’s piquant voice. Artymiw also played-with exquisite tone and exhilarating rhythmic life-two Faure piano pieces and Debussy’s brilliant Estampes.
The opening concert of Vevey’s “Arts and Letters” series was a passionate performance by two artists of the highest stature, violist Kim Kashkashian with pianist Lydia Artymiw. Kashkashian’s viola playing shows unlimited expressive possibilities, and Artymiw, at the piano, is a sensitive and attentive partner. Artymiw’s interpretations of the Kurtag piano pieces were remarkable.
A first-class technician, an intense but also very refined interpreter, a chamber musician full of authority, Lydia Artymiw reminds one of Menahem Pressler, by her presence at every moment. One observes her supporting every move of her partners (the Miami String Quartet), clarifying all of the efforts unfolding around her, and taking charge of the performance. Animated by such a complete musician, the Quintet, Op. 44 by Schumann was the highlight of the concert, with the pianist inspiring the quartet in an exalted adventure.
The best chamber performances—those that hold their listeners enthralled and make applause seem superfluous--have a utopian quality, offering a fleeting image of a world more harmonious than the one we know. Such performances do not happen often. But on Sunday afternoon, the trio of violinist Arnold Steinhardt, pianist Lydia Artymiw, and cellist Jules Eskin provided an unforgettable example of their intimate, egalitarian art. Their performance showed something very precious: a contagious delight in the music and in each other’s musicianship.
Lydia Artymiw joined the Guarneri Quartet for an unforgettable, dashing performance of a seldom played piano quartet of the young Felix Mendelssohn. The performance was electrifying and Artymiw showed why reviewers have strongly praised her playing for some time. She is one of the most remarkable pianists now playing.
There was no question that Artymiw was an equal partner (with the Guarneri Quartet) in the Dvorak Piano Quartet in E flat. This was an assured and dramatic performance. Artymiw is a talent to watch out for, a pianist with not only technique and musicianship but also sensitivity to her fellow players. You would have sworn that they had been playing together for years.
Pianist Lydia Artymiw, violinists Erin Keefe and Lily Francis, violist Toby Appel, and cellist Wilhemina Smith gave a fleet, nimble, poignant, and hair-raising performance of Dvorak’s Piano Quintet, Op. 81 at the Mahaiwe Theater in Great Barrington. Of the many live and recorded performances of the Dvorak I have heard, only a few have measured up to this high standard. Artymiw, a well-known concerto performer with leading orchestras as well as a highly-regarded chamber musician, contributed an assertive interpretation that offered new insights into one of Dvorak’s most inspired compositions.
The Hampden-Sydney Music Festival’s concerts and artists this weekend were typical of the festival at its best. The common chain was pianist Lydia Artymiw, who has emerged as one of the top chamber players on today’s musical scene. Artymiw’s performance of three movements from Olivier Messiaen’s deeply religious Vingt Regards was one of the highlights of the closing weekend.
Following their two piano concert at Steinway Hall in New York, pianists Lydia Artymiw and Woobin Park had another successful concert at the Seoul Arts Center Recital Hall. Artymiw and Park captured the audience’s attention with their perfect ensemble and collaboration, sounding as though one person were playing, not two. Their piano sounds were perfectly balanced, lyrical, fluid, and poetic, and the audience could feel their warm and heartfelt relationship as teacher and student.
“Wonderful” someone voiced, less as exclamation, more as testimony-that very inflection of the word capturing the essence of Kim Kashkashian and Lydia Artymiw in recital at Jordan Hall Thursday evening. With the duo of Kashkashian and Artymiw, Shostakovich and Schumann found kindness, depth, sensitivity, color, and compassion. All those unlikeable things you often wish were not part of the concert-going experience were blessedly absent. Kashkashian and Artymiw played impeccably and humanly. These two musicians focused my analytical eye on music’s broad power to transmit meaning. Their encore, a song by Carlos Guastavino, gave the evening further voice. Their performance had such enveloping, bitter-sweet conviction, that we were touched most honestly, most beautifully.